The legend of the great Ichiro Suzuki continues to grow.
I’ve always loved the culture of Japan. Their food is superb, history is long and extremely interesting, and they’ve given the world all sorts of great things, like martial arts, Nintendo, camera phones, CD players, and a list of scientific advances that’s too long to even start listing.
But another thing Japan does right is sports and entertainment. They have many top level sports leagues and MMA promotions, including a professional baseball league that almost rivals that of the MLB in terms of talent.
That league, called Nippon Professional Baseball, has brought us many great MLB stars, including league MVP Shohei Otani, but none have had the impact of Ichiro Suzuki.
After playing 9 suburb seasons in the NPB, he made his MLB debut back in 2001 and had one of the greatest “rookie” seasons of all-time, winning the Rookie of the Year and MVP after batting .350, stealing 56 bases, and racking up 242 hits, all while being pretty much the best outfielder the league has ever seen.
He played for 19 season until age 45, where he retired and moved back home to Japan to live out his life as one of the greatest baseball players of all-time. But just because he was retired didn’t mean he was done with a career. He continues to participate in exhibition games, one of which took place last night and I have to admit, it was a strange match up.
For some reason, Ichiro suited up to play against an all girls high school baseball team, and to say he dominated would be an understatement. He pitched a complete game shutout on 118 pitches with his fast ball topping out at 86 miles per hour, which is far from shabby for a 50 year old outfielder.
He also went 2 for 5 from the plate with a double, which is honestly impressive on the girls part for being able to get him out 3 times, one of which was a strikeout.