Ichiro Suzuki referred to mononymously as Ichiro, is a Japanese former professional baseball outfielder who played 28 seasons combined in top-level professional leagues. He spent the bulk of his career with two teams: nine seasons with the Orix Blue Wave of Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan, where he began his career, 14 with the Seattle Mariners of Major League Baseball in the United States. After playing the first 12 years of his MLB career for the Mariners, Ichiro played two and a half seasons with the New York Yankees before signing with the Miami Marlins. Ichiro played three seasons with the Marlins before returning to the Mariners in 2018. Ichiro established a number of batting records, including MLB's single-season record for hits with 262, he achieved the longest streak by any player in history. Between his major league career in both Japan and the United States, Ichiro has the most hits by any player in top-tier professional leagues, he has recorded the most hits of all Japanese-born players in MLB history.
In his combined playing time in the NPB and MLB, Ichiro received 17 consecutive selections both as an All-Star and Gold Glove winner, won nine league batting titles and was named Most Valuable Player four times. While playing in the NPB, he won seven consecutive batting titles and three consecutive Pacific League MVP Awards. In 2001, Ichiro became the first Japanese-born position player to be posted and signed to an MLB club, he led the American League in batting average and stolen bases en route to being named AL Rookie of the Year and AL MVP. Ichiro was the first MLB player to enter the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame, he was a ten-time MLB All-Star and won the 2007 All-Star Game MVP Award for a three-hit performance that included the event's first-ever inside-the-park home run. Ichiro won a Rawlings Gold Glove Award in each of his first 10 years in the majors, had an American League–record seven hitting streaks of 20 or more games, with a high of 27, he is noted for his longevity, continuing to produce at a high level with batting, on-base percentages above.300 in 2016, while approaching 43 years of age.
In 2016, Ichiro notched the 3,000th hit of his MLB career, against Chris Rusin of the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field, becoming only the 30th player to do so. In total, he finished with 4,367 hits in his professional career across the United States. Ichiro grew up in the town of Toyoyama, a small town just outside Nagoya. At the age of seven, Ichiro joined his first baseball team and asked his father, Nobuyuki Suzuki, to teach him to be a better player; the two began a daily routine, which included throwing 50 pitches, fielding 50 infield balls and 50 outfield balls, hitting 500 pitches, 250 from a pitching machine and 250 from his father. As a little leaguer in Toyoyama, Ichiro had the word "concentration" written on his glove. By age 12, he had dedicated himself to pursuing a career in professional baseball, their training sessions were no longer for leisure, less enjoyable; the elder Suzuki claimed, "Baseball was fun for both of us," but Ichiro said, "It might have been fun for him, but for me it was a lot like Star of the Giants," a popular Japanese manga and anime series about a young baseball prospect's difficult road to success, with rigorous training demanded by the father.
According to Ichiro, "It bordered on hazing and I suffered a lot."When Ichiro joined his high-school baseball team, his father told the coach, "No matter how good Ichiro is, don't praise him. We have to make him spiritually strong." When he was ready to enter high school, Ichiro was selected by a school with a prestigious baseball program, Nagoya's Aikodai Meiden High School. Ichiro was used as a pitcher instead of as an outfielder, owing to his exceptionally strong arm, his cumulative high-school batting average was.505, with 19 home runs. He built strength and stamina by hurling car tires and hitting Wiffle balls with a heavy shovel, among other regimens; these exercises helped adding power and endurance to his thin frame. Despite his outstanding numbers in high school, Ichiro was not drafted until the fourth and final round of the NPB draft in November 1991, because many teams were discouraged by his small size of 5 ft 9 1⁄2 in and 124 pounds. Years Ichiro told an interviewer, "I'm not a big guy, kids could look at me and see that I'm not muscular and not physically imposing, that I'm just a regular guy.
So if somebody with a regular body can get into the record books, kids can look at that. That would make me happy." Ichiro made his NPB Pacific League debut in 1992 for the Orix BlueWave at the age of 18, but he spent most of his first two seasons in the farm system because his then-manager, Shōzō Doi, refused to accept Ichiro's unorthodox swing. The swing was nicknamed'pendulum' because of the pendulum-like motion of his leg, which shifts his weight forward as he swings the bat, goes against conventional hitting theory. In his second career game, he recorded his first ichi-gun hit in the Pacific League against Hawks pitcher Keiji Kimura. Though he hit in 1993 a home run against Hideo Nomo, who won an MLB National League Rookie of the Year Award while a Los Angeles Dodger, Ichiro was sent back to the farm system on that day. In 1994, he benefited from the arrival of a new manager, Akira Ōgi, who played him every day in the second spot of the lineup, he was moved to the leadoff spot