From the moment Ichiro Suzuki touched down on American soil from the time he was playing in Japan, he put a pain in the side of every opposing team trying to figure out a way to get this guy out. 4,000 hits later, teams are still trying to figure out the same question they asked when his career started in Japan 21 years ago.
Ichiro’s career that started for the Orix Blue Wave in Japan saw his 1st 2 seasons total around 150 at-bats total. The next year, 1994, year number 3, saw Ichiro have 210 total hits and hit .385 his best year in Japan and the only time in 9 years he had over 200 hits in an entire season while in Japan. When Ichiro touched base in the states to play for the Seattle Mariners in 2001, all thoughts that he wasn’t going to succeed in the majors went out of the window real fast. Ichiro went on to the win the MVP in 2001 having a .350 batting average, 242 hits, 56 stolen bases, a gold glove, won Rookie of the Year and the MVP, heck of a year huh? To top that season, Suzuki broke the All-time single season hits record with 262, previously held by George Sisler with 257 in 1920.
Ichiro started his MLB career with 10 straight 200+ hit and .300+ batting average seasons. He’s never had a season with less than 26 stolen bases, 18 this year with a month a few weeks to go so it will be close if that streak continues. Let’s not forget to mention the 10 years he 10 straight remarkable offensive seasons he won the gold glove in each and every one of them. A career .991 fielding percentage and lead all Right-fielders in Fielding percentage on 4 different occasions, oh I forgot, he has a cannon for a right arm.
One thing Ichiro did for the game was bring an international flavor to the game. Since he came in, more and more players from Asia, other foreign countries have came to play in the Majors and more have gotten the chance hoping to be successful as Ichiro has been. Ichiro Suzuki is an icon in the game of baseball and could and still can on occasion do whatever he wants / wanted on a baseball diamond and the way he impacted the game offensively, defensively and on the base paths is bar none.