March 22, 2019
When it was finally time for it to end, after a career that began with the Orix BlueWave in 1992 in Kobe, Ichiro Suzuki looked into the crowd at Tokyo Dome and began to wave goodbye.
The 46,451 in attendance roared in appreciation as Ichiro jogged in from right field for the final time as a player. He waved a few more times on the way in, touching the brim of his hat in a show of thanks to the Seattle Mariners’ opponents the Oakland A’s, who were applauding with everyone else.
There was still a game to play, but this was Ichiro, and a one-of-a-kind player deserved a moment all his own.
Ichiro ended the speculation about his future on Thursday night, retiring after the second game of the MLB season, a 5-4 Mariners win. He had returned to action this season after moving from the field to a special front office role last May.
Ichiro’s decision to walk away ends a career that will land him the Baseball Hall of Fame in two countries.
He was a 10-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove winner in MLB, also winning a pair of batting titles. Despite spending the first nine years of his career in Japan, Ichiro still managed to join MLB’s 3,000-hit club, finishing 3,089 in the majors.