On Thursday in Tokyo, Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki played in the 2,653rd and final game of his MLB career -- . Ichiro was pulled in the eighth inning against the Athletics in the second and last game of the 2019 Japan Opening Series at the Tokyo Dome. The 45-year-old received a lengthy standing ovation from fans and teammates in his home country.
In the early innings on Thursday, it seemed word spread throughout the Tokyo Dome that Ichiro was playing his final game:
Ichiro took his final at-bat in the eighth inning, grounding out to the shortstop. Before the bottom half of the inning, Seattle manager Scott Servais made the switch as Ichiro jogged off the field for the last time in a Mariners uniform.
Ichiro alsoin Japan, going 0 for 1 with a walk. The action in Tokyo marked the first time Ichiro had played since last May when he moved from the Mariners' roster to a role in the team's front office.
"I have achieved so many of my dreams in baseball," Ichiro said in a statement released by the team, "both in my career in Japan and, since 2001, in Major League Baseball. I am honored to end my big league career where it started, with Seattle, and think it is fitting that my last games as a professional were played in my home country of Japan.
"I want to thank not only the Mariners, but the Yankees and Marlins, for the opportunity to play in MLB, and I want to thank the fans in both the U.S. and Japan for all the support they have always given me."
Ichiro ends his career as the active hits leader (3,089) and one of just four MLB players to tally at least 3,000 hits and win at least 10 Gold Gloves. He's also one of just seven players to compile 3,000 hits and 500 stolen bases.of Ichiro's impressive career numbers.
He achieved all that despite not playing in his first MLB game until age 27. The future Hall of Famer was a 10-time All-Star and won both MVP and Rookie of the Year honors during his debut MLB season in 2001. As well, Ichiro totaled 4,367 hits between his MLB career and his nine years with the Orix Blue Wave in Japan.