A baseball legend has bowed out. Ichiro Suzuki, the famed Japanese outfielder who played most of his MLB career for the Seattle Mariners, announced his retirement Thursday night, shortly after Seattle's 5-4 win over the Oakland Athletics. Suzuki, 45, played his final game Thursday at the Tokyo Dome, where he began his Hall of Fame-bound professional baseball career 27 years ago as a member of the Orix BlueWave for Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan.
"I have achieved so many of my dreams in baseball," Ichiro said in a statement released by the team, CBS Sports reports. "I am honored to end my big league career where it started, with Seattle, and think it is fitting that my last games as a professional were played in my home country of Japan."
He added, "I want to thank not only the Mariners, but the Yankees and Marlins, for the opportunity to play in MLB, and I want to thank the fans in both the U.S. and Japan for all the support they have always given me."
Suzuki is a living legend, considered one of the greatest baseball players to ever don a uniform — a 10-time All Star in the majors, a 10-time Gold Glove winner, and a 3-time Silver Slugger. He won the 2001 American League Rookie of the Year and American League Most Valuable Player awards. Suzuki had 3,089 hits over his MLB career, and is the world leader in professional baseball hits, as his 4,367 combined hits in Nippon Professional Baseball and Major League Baseball exceed Pete Rose's 4,256 career hits in the MLB.
Suzuki's 19-year MLB career included 12 seasons with the Mariners, three seasons as a New York Yankee, and three seasons with the Miami Marlins. All told, he played 2,651 games, where he dazzled fans with his famous pre-game stretching routine, his cannon of a throwing arm, and his uncanny ability to get on base.