Ichiro Suzuki is one of the greatest hitters in the history of baseball. He was drafted by the Orix Blue Wave of Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball and made his NPB debut in 1992, when he was just 18 years old. Ichiro played nine seasons in Japan. He played in seven NPB All-Star Games, won seven batting titles and was a 3x NPB MVP. In 2001, Ichiro made news around the world when he joined the Seattle Mariners and became the first Japanese-born position player in MLB history. Ichiro is setting the stage for a historic season in 2015. At the time of this post, Ichiro is just 198 hits away from joining MLB's 3,000 hits club. He has a really good chance of joining the club sometime during the second half of the 2015 season. That's quite an accomplishment considering it will be just his 15th MLB season. If he were to accomplish this amazing feat, Ichiro would not only join the 3,000 Hits Club, but his total combined NPB and MLB hit total would be 4,278. This would put him ahead of both Ty Cobb (4,189) and Pete Rose (4,256) for the most hits in the history of the world.
MLB Debut and First MLB Hit, April 2, 2001: Ichiro made his much anticipated MLB Debut and became the first first Japanese position player to play for a Major League Baseball team. He collected his first two hits and scored his first run on the Mariners 5-4 victory over the Oakland A's.
First MLB Home Run, April 6, 2001: With the score tied 7-7 in the top of the 10th inning against the Texas Rangers, Ichiro hit his first MLB homerun (a two-run shot) that won the game 9-7. Not only was it Ichiro's first homerun, it was also hit first two RBI. Ichiro was four for six during the game and also picked up his first double.
Breaks Single Season Hits Record, October 1, 2004: In the bottom of the first inning, Ichiro singled off of Rangers pitcher, Ryan Drese to tie George Sisler's 84-year-old record of 257 hits in a single season. Ichiro faced Drese again in the third and dropped another single into centerfield, establishing a new single-season record with 258 hits. He picked up another single in the bottom of the sixth to extend his newly-established record to 259. The Mariners won the game 8-3.
Sets Single Season Hits Record, October 3, 2004: Ichiro went two for four in a loss to the Rangers. It was the final two hits of one of the most memorable seasons in baseball history. He finished with 262 hits.
2007 MLB All-Star Game: Ichiro went three for five and became the first player to ever hit an inside-the-park homerun during the MLB All-Star Game. Ichiro led the American League to a 5-4 win and won the All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award.
First Career MLB Walk-Off Hit, July 28, 2009: With two runners on and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Ichiro singled off of Blue Jays pitcher, Scott Downs to break a 3-3 tie and bring home teammate, Rob Johnson to win the game. It was the 1,953th hit of his MLB career.
First Career MLB Walk-Off Homerun, September 18, 2009: The Mariners entered the bottom of the ninth inning trailing the New York Yankees by a score of 2-1. The greatest closer in baseball history, Mariano Rivera was on the mound and already struckout the first two Mariners batters before Mike Sweeney was able to get a base hit. Ichiro was the next batter and had only nit nine homeruns all season long. Without any hesitation, he hit the first pitch he saw from Rivera over the right field wall and into the stands. The Mariners won the game 3-2.
4,000th Career Hit, August 31, 2013: In the bottom of the first inning, Ichiro hit a ground ball to left field of of Blue Jays starter, R.A. Dickey to join Ty Cobb and Pete Rose as the only players with 4,000 career hits at the major league level (1,278 NPB and 2,722 MLB hits). The Yankees won the game 4-2.
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