In 2002, the Houston Rockets selected China sensation Yao Ming, which certainly sparked the NBA. Playing 9 seasons with the team, he certainly had made an impact not just on the league, but the sports world in general.
One year prior, in 2001, the Seattle Mariners selected a player from Japan by the name of Ichiro Suzuki. In his rookie year, he won AL MVP and Rookie of the Year with an astounding batting average of .350 and 69 RBIs, along with 56 stolen bases to his credit. He also owns the record for most hits by a rookie (242). If you have ever seen him play, you can tell that he is beyond fast. His speed is lethal and predominantly due to his slap hitting abilities, he could beat out any throw no matter where he hit the ball.
After 12 successful seasons with the Mariners, he was then traded to the New York Yankees in 2012, the team where all of the hot free agents go. Obviously not the hot numbers like he had with Seattle, but Ichiro still managed to make it to the ALCS with the Yankees in that same year but lost to the Detroit Tigers.
In 2015, he was sent to the Miami Marlins. The following year, in 2016, Ichiro would reach the pinnacle of offensive baseball. Only 29 players have achieved this prestigious honor, and on August 7, 2016, he became the 30th player in MLB history to accumulate 3,000 hits in his career. Joining such names as Pete Rose, Derek Jeter, and Hank Aaron is an incredible honor that Ichiro should be proud of.
If you were to watch footage of Ichiro in his early years with Seattle and then watch video of him with the Marlins, you wouldn’t find much difference. He still hustles like no other, has the same batting stance, and is still incredibly dangerous whenever he steps to the plate. He is 42. Let that sink in…42 years of age. In this season thus far, he is still batting an incredible .318 and doesn’t really show any signs of slowing down.
In hockey, there’s Jaromir Jagr (age 44); in football, there’s Adam Vinatieri (43); in basketball, there’s Kevin Garnett (40); and in baseball, there’s Ichiro Suzuki, Mr. 3,000.
Raised in a competitive family, sports has been the majority of my life. Not only playing but watching as well. Born in Oak Lawn, IL (suburb of Chicago), I tend to have a bias, but I try to keep an open mind. Nonetheless, I enjoy watching and talking sports.