Ichiro Suzuki: Seattle Mariners legend retires with Tokyo Dome farewell


As Thursday's game between the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics headed to the bottom of the eighth inning tied at 4, Ichiro departed in an emotional farewell in a packed Tokyo Dome.

After the game, Kikuchi talked about the first time he went to a pro baseball game as an elementary school student to see Ichiro play and the impact that had on him, and the impact of being a teammate for a brief time. Laughing and joking as Ichiro was playing a game with coaches about where he could hit the ball. Ichiro enjoyed one of the most remarkable careers in baseball history, bridging the gap between Japanese and American baseball in a way that no other player has. Many expect him to retire after the Japan series, or when the Mariners return home for two spring training games with the San Diego Padres before the regular season resumes against the Boston Red Sox.

There's nothing like baseball. But no one appeared to be more torn up over Ichiro's departure than his new teammate Yusei Kikucki.

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The stats speak for themselves: A.311 career batting average in 18 seasons, 10 gold gloves, 10-time All Star Game appearances, an MVP award in his rookie season - and that's just in America. His worldwide impact is unrivaled, and his 4,367 professional hits is a number unmatched by any player in baseball history. The crowd erupted for the loudest ovation of the night as he lifted his cap and acknowledged the crowd before stepping into the dugout and sharing a moment with Mariners Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. One of the most efficient hitters ever and a fantastic defensive outfielder with blinding speed, Ichiro played his final Major League Baseball game on Thursday and left to a huge ovation at the Tokyo Dome.

Ichiro went 0-for-1 with a walk in Wednesday's 9-7 victory against the Oakland A's to open the season.

Earlier this week, Ichiro Suzuki officially retired from Major League Baseball at the age of 45. But no matter which side of that fence you fall on, Ichiro's 4,257th hit was something special. Here are some of the scenes and tweets in tribute to Ichiro from his final game. The M's won both games in Japan. Ramirez went on to hit 39 more home runs, so Ichiro's robbery merely prevented him from becoming the first Indians hitter since Travis Hafner in 2006 with at least 40 dingers in a season. His last start here was in June, when he beat the Yomiuri Giants, allowing two hits and striking out three in seven scoreless innings for the Lions. They'll switch back into spring training mode before the Major League Baseball campaign resumes with all 30 clubs on March 28.