The Seattle Mariners bestowed the Franchise Achievement Award on Ichiro Suzuki on Sept. 14. The former American League MVP and Rookie of the Year played 14 years for the Mariners in two stints. He retired following a two-game series against the Oakland Athletics in Japan at the start of this season, after 28 years at the top levels of Major League Baseball and the Nippon Baseball League.
Suzuki addressed fans in English and joked that he was nervous at the start of his speech.
He told fans he was disappointed he didn’t get to celebrate his final game in Seattle with them.
“When I came to Seattle in ’01, no position player had ever come from Japan,” Suzuki told the crowd. “The one you got was 27, small, skinny, and unknown. You had every reason not to accept me. However, you welcomed me with open arms and never stopped, even when I left and came back.”