The Miami Marlins honored outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, paying tribute to the future Hall of Famer for reaching 3,000 career Major League Baseball hits.
Ichiro, 43, became the 30th player with 3,000 major league hits last year, and Marlins manager Don Mattingly said he hasn’t let up since.
“Just the way he prepares and what he’s doing every day,” Mattingly said of the Japanese star’s strengths.
“Every day he’s out there throwing, he’s working, stretching. It’s just an ongoing movement. It just never stops.
“Some guys get tired of it or get out of their routines. But his routine, he just seems to do it every day and is ready to go. It’s just good to watch.”
Ichiro notched his 3,000th hit, a triple on August 7 last year at Colorado.
The Marlins had planned to celebrate the feat at a game last September 25, but it was cancelled due to the death of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez in a boating accident that day.
Prior to Sunday’s game against the Pirates, the Marlins presented Ichiro with a collage of photos of all 3,000 hits.
“It’s the most emotional I’ve ever seen him,” Marlins president David Samson said of Ichiro’s reaction when the collage was unveiled. “When he looked at the magnitude of it and saw hits 1 through 3,000, I think it occurred to him how many hits that is.”
The festivities included a video tribute from Japan’s retired home run king Sadaharu Oh, after which Ichiro bowed toward the scoreboard on which it played.
“I thought the highlight of the whole ceremony was when he bowed to Mr. Oh,” Samson said. “I think he began to understand the significance of his accomplishment _ how few players do it and how beloved he is across the world.”
Ichiro is in his third season as a reserve outfielder with the Marlins. He went into Sunday’s game ranked 25th on the MLB career list with 3,034 hits. He had 1,278 in Japan before launching his Stateside career.