-UPDATED: July 24th, 2:50 PM – Correction about Ichiro’s New York Yankees jersey number-
The New York Yankees announced today that Japan’s beloved Ichiro Suzuki has been acquired from the Seattle Mariners as part of a trade deal. This will be the first time the 38 year old outfielder has played for any other team than Seattle in his 12 year U.S. Major League Baseball career. As if the legendary, world renown New York Yankees really needed the help, they now have the Japan-born 10-time All Star who boasts a .322 career batting average, 1,176 runs, and 99 home runs.
After leaving Japan’s baseball league in 2000 to come play in the U.S., Ichiro Suzuki’s 12 years with the Seattle Mariners came to a very abrupt end. As part of the exchange, the Mariners have acquired two right-hand pitchers, D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar. It another bit of surprise, the Yankees are scheduled to play against the Mariner tonight, and while it’s been said Ichiro will be donning the Yankee’s uniform, albeit with his familiar number 51, it is still unclear if he will be playing in the game.
Suzuki’s approval to the trade was required as he has been an MLB player for at least 10 year, and had been with his current team for at least five years. He was recognized as both an American League MVP and Rookie of the Year in his debut 2001 season, and just last month he marked his 2,500th hit in his MLB career. Ichiro still has legions of dedicated fans in Japan, and he has come to serve as an icon for the Mariners and Seattle itself. It’s a bit sad to see such a period end so abruptly, especially when he’s going to play for the damn New York Yankees!
UPDATE: Ichiro Suzuki was given jersey number 31 by the New York Yankees, as the number 51 hasn’t been worn on the team since Bernie Williams, a four-time World Series champion, last played.[via Detroit Free Press]