It was more than the hits.
Arguably one of the greatest hitters in baseball history, Ichiro Suzuki, is finally hanging up his cleats at the young age of 44 years old.
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The once in a generation talent came over from Japan at the age of 27 and immediately took Major League Baseball by storm, winning the Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, Rookie of the Year and MVP in his first season.
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The future Hall-of-Famer who played for the Mariners, Yankees, and Marlins finished his career with over 3,000 hits to go along with 10 Gold Gloves and 10 All-Star appearances.
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But Ichiro’s impact went far beyond his stats and accomplishments, so lets take a moment to appreciate some moments and stories you may not know about Ichiro’s career that helped write his endearing legacy.
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When he sat down for an interview with Bob Costas and revealed his hilariously vulgar favorite American expression.
“August in Kansas City is hotter than two fucking rats in a wool sock.”
He learned Spanish during his time in the MLB so he could talk shit to opposing players.
“I feel a bond with them,” Ichiro told Lofton by way of explaining his extensive secret Spanish-language shit-talking. “We're all foreigners in a strange land … And besides, we don't really have curse words in Japanese, so I like the fact that the Western languages allow me to say things that I otherwise can't.”
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He sent a hand written note to a fan who kept track of his total hits between his professional career in Japan and in the MLB.
He befriended Negro Leagues legend Buck O’Neil and when O’Neil passed away Ichiro personally donated to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in his memory.
According to ESPN's Wright Thompson's profile on Ichiro, he visited the museum without telling anyone while on a road trip to Kansas City. He also sent flowers to Buck O'Neil's funeral. Ichiro has also been known to visit the graves of players who's records he's broken, and visits Cooperstown frequently.
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Despite the language barrier Ichiro was known for giving legendary excessively vulgar pregame speeches at the All-Star game.
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Ichiro was a once-in-a-lifetime player who transcended the game, and as his former teammate Derek Jeter said “we probably won’t see anyone like him again.”
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