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Ichiro Suzuki retires

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The legendary outfielder finishes his playing career in his home country after 28(!) professional seasons.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Colorado Rockies
Ichiro’s 3,000th MLB hit in 2016 was the most prestigious individual milestone ever achieved by a Marlins player
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

While the Mariners defeated the Athletics 5-4 in extra innings on Thursday, the entire baseball universe took an L. We no longer have the privilege of enjoying one the sport’s most unique players. Ichiro Suzuki, the all-time hit king, retired in the middle of the eighth inning, surrounded by a sold-out crowd of his countrymen in Japan’s Tokyo Dome.

Rumors of his decision had been spreading throughout the game before the PA announcer made it official:

Ichiro shared a special moment with Dee Gordon, his teammate for the past four-plus seasons (2015-2017 with Marlins, 2018-2019 with Mariners).

A slam-dunk Baseball Hall of Fame inductee as soon as he gains eligibility, Ichiro distinguished himself with consistency, freakish athleticism and professionalism.

Oh yeah, longevity too.

Baseball-Reference

(He played in a total of 3,604 regular season games when including Wednesday’s and Thursday’s games)

There was skepticism, believe it or not, when Ichiro made his move from Nippon Professional Baseball to the United States prior to the 2001 season. But his immense talents translated immediately en route to winning the AL MVP award as a rookie and leading the Mariners to a major league record 116 victories.

Ichiro was 41 years old when he signed with Miami. Though well past his prime, he commanded respect from the club’s young core and drew new fans to the Fish. His .256/.315/.325 slash line over three seasons doesn’t tell the full story: he was a great investment.

Ichiro has been playing pro baseball since before I was born, and he was a personal favorite of our previous site manager, Thomas Bennett. This news hits hard.

Sayonara to a special career.