Ichiro Suzuki is the Japanese baseball superstar who has played in the American major leagues since 2001. Ichiro Suzuki was first a hero in Japan, where he played nine major league seasons for the Orix Blue Wave. In 2001, Suzuki joined the Seattle Mariners of American League. That made Suzuki (along with New York Mets outfielder Tsuyoshi Shinjo the same year) the first non-pitching Japanese to play in the American major leagues since the 1960s, sparking intense interest in both the U.S. and Japan. A speedy outfielder, Suzuki became one of the best hitters in the game and a threat to steal whenever he was on base. He became a 10-time All-Star, and his fame is such that he is often called by a single name, Ichiro. He extended his contract with Seattle in 2007 for $90 million, and played with the team until 2012, when he was traded to the New York Yankees.
Ichiro wore uniform #51 throughout his career until his 2012 trade to the New York Yankees. There the number had been worn by fan favorite Bernie Williams, so Ichiro switched to uniform #31. MLB.com reported the switch: “‘Of course No. 51 is a special number to me, but when I think about what 51 means to the Yankees, it’s hard for me to ask for that number,’ Ichiro said. ‘I’d like to have a new number and then make that my own’”… Ichiro married Yumiko Fukushima in 1999; she is a a former announcer for TBS TV.
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