Ichiro expresses gratitude entering Mariners Hall of Fame

Ichiro Suzuki was inducted into the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame on Saturday night and delivered his entire 16-minute speech in English while reflecting on his career.

SEATTLE (AP) — Ichiro Suzuki was inducted into the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame on Saturday night and delivered his entire 16-minute speech in English while reflecting on his career.

Suzuki became the 10th inductee of the Seattle Hall of Fame, joining former teammates Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez, Jamie Moyer, Jay Buhner and Dan Wilson who had previously been honored by the club. Everyone except Buhner was present.

Suzuki’s speech was one of the few times he spoke extensively in English in a public forum. The ceremony also included video messages from several baseball stars, including Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Albert Pujols and Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Baseball Hall of Fame President Josh Rawitch was also in attendance. Suzuki may be included in Cooperstown in 2025.

Griffey and Suzuki sat next to each other during the ceremony. The pair were teammates in Seattle during the 2009-10 seasons.

“There’s a guy I like to call George. You know him as Ken Griffey Jr. He was my idol before I came to America, but in 2009 he returned to Seattle and I finally became his teammate,” said Suzuki. “Yeah, he’s a joker. But for me he is also a real professional. He has helped me in more ways than I can put into words. Being his teammate is really one of my career highlights.”

Suzuki spent the first 11 seasons of his major league career with the Mariners before joining the New York Yankees midway through the 2012 season. Suzuki played chunks of three seasons with the Yankees, three more in Miami, before returning to Seattle to finish his career.

His last appearance came at the start of the 2019 season, which opened Seattle with two games in Japan. Suzuki announced his retirement after the second game. He has spent the last few years as a special assistant to the Mariners chairman and regularly wears uniform and works with players or fieldballs during batting practice.

“I was 27 when I came to Seattle. I never imagined that my career in America would last 19 seasons and that I would still be in Seattle today,” said Suzuki. “With that in mind, I want to say to the current players that your future has opportunities that you cannot imagine. Embrace them by doing your best without setting yourself any limits.

“If a skinny, undersized guy from Japan can compete in that uniform and then stand before you tonight to accept that honor. Then there is no reason why you cannot do it either.”

https://www.king5.com/article/sports/mlb/mariners/ichiro-expresses-gratitude-entering-mariners-hall-of-fame/281-04b1750b-5fbf-4f04-aca5-50a39e1019ec Ichiro expresses gratitude entering Mariners Hall of Fame

Emma Bowman

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