It was a moment that seemed almost too good to be true. During Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Seattle Mariners, Miami Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki hit a home run in what might have been his final at-bat in the city where he spent most of his career.
Suzuki came up to bat in the top of the ninth inning with his team trailing 10-4. On any other day, an at-bat this late in the game with your team losing by six runs would not really mean that much. However, this was not just a regular game for Suzuki. In all likelihood, it would be his last game at Safeco Field. He stepped in the batter’s box with this in mind. On the first pitch from Mariners reliever Evan Marshall, Suzuki hit the ball over the fence in right center field. Mariners fans cheered loudly as he rounded the bases. It was certainly an unforgettable moment for Suzuki and Mariner fans.
The Marlins were unable to get a rally going after that home run, and the Mariners won the game 10-5. The final score is not what will be remembered from this game however.
Suzuki had quite the career in Seattle. He spent nearly 12 full seasons with the Mariners. Over that period of time, he was a 10-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove Award winner. During his rookie season back in 2001, Suzuki batted .350 and had 56 stolen bases. His .350 average helped him capture the American League Batting Title. Not only was voted the AL Rookie of the Year that season, but he also won the AL MVP Award. It was a good year for the Mariners as well, as they went 116-46 and won the AL West. They went on to lose to the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series.
The 2001 season was the start of a very impressive MLB career for Suzuki. The Mariners eventually traded him to the New York Yankees in July of 2012. He played for the Yankees for a few years before signing with the Marlins prior to the 2015 season. Although he is 43 years old, Suzuki still has the desire to continue playing. He clearly still has something left in him.
Suzuki is arguably one of the best pure hitters in baseball history. He has over 3,000 career hits and has a .312 lifetime batting average. This is not even counting what he did while playing for the Orix Blue Wave in Japan prior to his MLB career.
If Wednesday afternoon’s game was in fact Suzuki’s final one at Safeco Field, he definitely went out in style. He gave his old fans a reason to cheer for him one final time.