Tuesday, July 24, 2012
In one of the few remaining big money sports where size doesn't matter and the game is not dominated by overgrown freaks, a true giant passed from the local scene yesterday as Ichiro Suzuki was traded to the Yankees.
Ichiro came to the Mariners in 2001 after playing nine years in Japan. During his 11 and a half years in Seattle he won the major league batting title twice and set the record for the number of hits in a season.
At 38 he's in the sunset of his career, but in his first at-bat as a Yankee last night, playing against the Mariners in their home at Safeco Field, Ichiro banged a line-drive single to center for his 2,534th major-league hit. Even as he heads for the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, his career isn't over, but can now be assessed as the game-changer it was, transforming major league baseball from a parochial American institution into an international phenomenon.