Ichiro gives speech in English to Mariners' fans
NHK -- Sep 16
In Major League Baseball, former Seattle Mariner player Ichiro Suzuki has made his first public farewell since his retirement at the team's home stadium. The Japanese baseball superstar expressed his gratitude to his fans in English.

The Mariners held a ceremony on Saturday to present Ichiro with an award to honor his career.

After a video highlighting his greatest plays was shown on a big screen, Ichiro emerged from the bench in uniform to a standing ovation. The former outfielder now works as an instructor for the team.

He started his speech by admitting he was nervous, drawing laughs.

Ichiro then expressed his appreciation to his fans for their "touching support over the years." He noted how fans in Seattle had welcomed him, even when he left and returned, and how he was grateful for the chance to return in 2018.

He also said he was inspired by some of the greatest competitors, and now had the pleasure of spending time with young and talented players.

As he concluded his remarks, the crowd began its familiar "I-chi-ro" chant.

The 45-year-old outfielder announced his retirement on March 21 after a game against the Oakland Athletics at Tokyo Dome. In 2004, Ichiro made 262 hits -- a new record for most in-season hits in the Major Leagues. He also became the first MLB player to attain 10 consecutive 200-hit seasons.

US media say he will join the Baseball Hall of Fame when he will be eligible for the honor in 2025.

News source: NHK
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