Mariners, Marlins Honor Ichiro Suzuki Through Double Bobblehead Giveaway
Five years after he halts his incredible career, Ichiro Suzuki will surely cement his status among baseball’s immortals through first-ballot enshrinement in the Hall of Fame. The 43-year-old will have much more immediate recognition for his plate prowess, though, as the Seattle Mariners, the club with which he debuted in 2001 and for whom he stroked 2,533 hits in 11-and-a-half seasons; and the Miami Marlins, his employer since 2015, will team up today for a double bobblehead giveaway at Seattle's Safeco Field.
The series finale between the squads, set for today, could very well feature an enhanced presence for the honoree, who has made only 15 plate appearances for the Fish, including three in Monday’s opener, over 10 games. No matter how prominently Suzuki influences the outcome, fans will walk away with a rare treat due to the franchises’ promotional brainchild. The item merges a depiction of the Japanese star from 2004, when his 262 hits anointed him as the single-season record-holder, and a representation from last season when he became the 30th, and most recent, player to have amassed 3,000 hits.
“It’s not necessarily what it looked like,” Suzuki, whose ticket to Cooperstown comes courtesy of, among other plaudits, three Silver Slugger awards, two batting crowns and the 2001 MVP and Rookie of the Year honors, said to the Sun-Sentinel of caring more about the gesture than its artistic portrayals. “The Mariners are really good at marketing stuff, so that’s what I thought.”
Though Suzuki has logged time with the Marlins and the New York Yankees, the latter acquiring him in July 2012, he will always enjoy renown as a Mariner. He set numerous league marks while playing for the American League West constituents, including the most consecutive seasons leading the circuit in hits, with 2006 through 2010 being the bearers of his glorious run. Having exceeded 200 hits during his first 10 campaigns in the Pacific Northwest, with All-Star selections and Gold Glove awards as further fruits from the decade of dominance, Suzuki succeeded Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez as the torchbearer for the club. The last six years have yielded mixed results, proving that age finally might have caught up with the athlete who made his MLB debut at 27.
No matter how many more hits he tallies (here’s hoping he can notch two today, as they would give him exactly 500 since his Seattle departure), his contributions will live forever in baseball’s annals. May the commemorative bobblehead be yet another reminder of how unique the Land of the Rising Sun native is.