TOKYO — Ichiro Suzuki received a grand sendoff in his final game Thursday in Japan.
ESPN reported during Thursday’s telecast that Ichiro would officially retire after Thursday’s game, which went to extra innings at the Tokyo Dome.
“I have achieved so many of my dreams in baseball,” Ichiro said, “both in my career in Japan and, since 2001, in Major League Baseball. I am honored to end my big league career where it started, with Seattle, and think it is fitting that my last games as a professional were played in my home country of Japan.
“I want to thank not only the Mariners, but the Yankees and Marlins, for the opportunity to play in MLB, and I want to thank the fans in both the U.S. and Japan for all the support they have always given me.”
Ichiro nearly legged out an infield hit in the eighth inning after a strikeout earlier in the game. He was hitless but Seattle claimed a 5-4 victory in a game that went to extra innings at the Tokyo Dome.
— MLB (@MLB) March 21, 2019
But Ichiro was undoubtedly the star attraction as the curtain fell on his 27-year career, including the past 19 in Major League Baseball.
“I’ve decided that I will retire from baseball,” Ichiro said following the game. “I’m very thankful to the fans, the Mariners, the people that work for the Mariners. I’m very thankful for them.”
When the game was over, he took a patient lap around the warning track stopping to wave and smile as adoring fans showered him with boisterous ovations.
“It doesn’t get better than tonight. Nothing gets better than what happened tonight,” Ichiro said.
The capacity crowd roared as Ichiro was removed from right field in the eighth inning in an extended celebration in front of the Seattle Mariners dugout. Each teammate greeted him individually and Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. awaited for an embrace as Ichiro entered the dugout.
His professional career ends with 3,089 hits in Major League Baseball, which doesn’t include the 1,278 he notched in Japanese pro baseball.
MVP and Rookie of the Year in 2001 when he broke in with the Mariners, Ichiro made the All-Star team 10 times and won 10 Gold Gloves. He won three Silver Slugger Awards.
He set the all-time single-season record with 262 hits in 2004 and had 10 seasons with at least 200 hits.
–Field Level Media