The Seattle Mariners parted ways with Ichiro Suzuki on Monday, ending a magical era in Mariners baseball.
The right fielder was traded to the New York Yankees (the same day the Yankees arrived in Seattle to face the Mariners for a three-game set) for a pair of minor league pitchers. Ichiro is a free agent at the end of this season, essentially making the move a “rent-a-player” for the Yankees.
Though the 38-year-old’s numbers are not what they once were, Seattle is losing an icon. Ichiro has been the face of the franchise since he came over from Japan in 2001. During that rookie season, he tallied 242 hits with a .350 average. The stellar performance got him the American League MVP award as well as Rookie of the Year. The man with one of the oddest swings in the history of the game was able to make it to ten straight All-Star games and earn ten Gold Glove awards.
Despite a constantly-changing front office, multiple managers and questionable moves by ownership, Ichiro has been one of the most consistent performers in all of baseball. It wasn’t until 2011 when his average dipped below .300. It was also the first time Ichiro had hit less than 200 hits in a season.
Though some fans didn’t like his unorthodox approach, his communication barrier and his playing style, there is no doubt fans are going to miss the effort he brought to Safeco field, night in and night out.
From everyone at KZOK, we say:
Thank you, Ichiro.