Ichiro Officially Retires, Next Stop the Hall of Fame

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While most of the baseball-loving population in America began its Thursday morning, Ichiro Suzuki was waving his cap at the end of his final MLB game in Japan.

But Ichiro's influence ranged far, far beyond his ability to poke the ball anywhere to get a hit.

"He's been in the big leagues for 19 years and he's doing the same thing, representing not just the Seattle Mariners organization but also Japan and opening doors to that market", Pujols told the Japanese media in Tempe, Arizona.

"I think that what he has done since 2001, to become arguably the greatest player ever to play in both leagues... what he has done is really to create a lot of attention on Japan".

Ichiro's 2018 run with the Mariners may not have lasted long, but it at least produced one special play that made everybody remember why he means so much in Seattle.

Baseball: Ichiro to announce his retirement: source

He trotted to right field for the bottom half of the inning, but Seattle manager Scott Servais stopped the game before a pitch was thrown to pull Ichiro and give the crowd a chance to honor one of the greatest players in history.

Ichiro Suzuki started for the Seattle Mariners on Thursday in what the Japanese news agency Kyodo is reporting will be his final major league game. In his last at-bat, he came up with two outs, a runner on second and a tie score in the eighth.

Ichiro Suzuki has left the game. Embarking on his 19th season this year, it appears as though Ichiro has chose to retire. His 3,089 hits in Major League Baseball, combined with another 1,2278 in Japan, totals a record 4,337 hits. It was only right his final professional game came with that team. Hideki Matsui was perhaps the next most notable Japanese superstar, but players like So Taguchi, Akinori Iwamura, Nori Aoki, and Munenori Kawasaki all made their big-league dreams a reality thanks to Ichiro's journey. In exhibition games prior to the games against the A's, Suzuki had two hits in 31 at-bats. A year ago marked the arrival of two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani.

As word spread through the crowd of 46,451 at Tokyo Dome, the applause for Suzuki grew each time he went to the plate or took his position in the field. Kikuchi, who worked into the fifth inning, bowed to Ichiro - the 27-year-old lefty was tearing up as he buried his head into Ichiro's shoulder. "It's just happiness. Of course, I thought about the fans in Seattle".

He was named the American League Rookie of the Year and MVP that first year in pacing the Mariners to their most recent trip to the playoffs, and started a string of 10 consecutive seasons with 200 or more hits, including setting the single-season major league record with 262 in 2004. He was my adoration and every time I saw him I was very nervous.

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