Ichiro Suzuki in the Mariners Hall of Fame

Ichiro Suzuki in the Mariners Hall of Fame


Ichiro Suzuki gave an emotional testimony to his epic in Seattle, Saturday, during the Mariners Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Suzuki has played 14 of 19 seasons in the United States with Washington State, and is 24th in major league history with 3,089 hits. On Saturday in front of T-Mobile Park, he again shared his love for the team and for the city he adopted, before a game that the Cleveland defense won 4-3.

“Although I retired as a professional player, baseball and Seattle have never left my heart,” Suzuki said, according to the major league’s official website. Baseball will forever be my soul, and my mission is to continue to help players and fans enjoy this special game.”

“I still often wear a Mariners uniform, and I do it with pride. I want our players to know that I am with them in their fight to be the best. I was 27 years old when I came to Seattle. I never thought that my career in America would last 19 seasons and that I would still be in Seattle today.

Kisses

Suzuki is the team’s 10th Hall of Famer after Alvin Davis, Dave Niehaus, Jay Buhner, Edgar Martinez, Randy Johnson, Dan Wilson, Ken Griffey Jr., Lou Piniella and Jamie Moyer.

Piniella was also the team manager when Suzuki jumped to North America in 2001. That year, he was named the player of the year, but also the American League player of the year.

The Japanese didn’t hesitate to share a little story that surely made many people laugh about his first major league manager.

“Lou kissed me here on the cheek,” Suzuki said of the manager’s fate for him after his first win with the Mariners. The manager gave me a big water kiss. This does not happen in Japan. I was shocked. To be honest, I was scared. I thought if that was the American custom, I probably wouldn’t have made it here.”

“Remember, we won 116 games that year. I wasn’t ready for 116 kisses from the manager.”

Clearly, Suzuki was able to withstand those displays of affection as he played 2,653 major league baseball games with the Mariners, New York Yankees and Miami Marlins, maintaining a .311 batting average.