Ichiro Suzuki has announced his retirement from baseball after helping the Seattle Mariners' to a 5-4 victory over the Oakland Athletics in Tokyo.
Word of the impending announcement had already leaked out prior to Thursday's match, and emotions ran wild as the 45-year-old confirmed the news following Seattle's win in 12 innings at the Tokyo Dome.
In what would prove to be his final at-bat, Ichiro made everyone hold their breath as he hustled down the line after a soft grounder to shortstop. He did not beat the throw, however, to end the top of the eighth inning.
He trotted to right field for the bottom half of the inning, but Seattle manager Scott Servais stopped the game before a pitch was thrown to pull Ichiro and give the crowd a chance to honour one of the greatest players in history.
"I have achieved so many of my dreams in baseball," Ichiro said in a statement. "Both in my career in Japan and, since 2001, in Major League Baseball.
"I am honoured to end my big league career where it started, with Seattle, and think it is fitting that my last games as a professional were played in my home country of Japan.
"I want to thank not only the Mariners, but the [New York] Yankees and [Miami] Marlins, for the opportunity to play in MLB, and I want to thank the fans in both the U.S. and Japan for all the support they have always given me."
Suzuki — who was the AL MVP and Rookie of the Year for the Mariners in 2001 — has played 14 of his 18-plus MLB seasons in Seattle. He will finish his career with 3,089 hits in MLB (23rd all-time) and 1,278 in Japan. His combined total of 4,367 is a world professional record.
The Baseball Hall of Fame announced immediately after the game that Ichiro will be eligible for induction in 2025, and he'll have a resume worthy of first-ballot enshrinement as a 10-time MLB All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove winner.
After he finally left the field for good, Ichiro summed up the night to reporters: "It doesn't get better than this. There's no more happiness than this here tonight."
|Nobody believed in Spurs´ destiny, says Pochettino|
|Real Madrid have €500m to spend, says Capello|
|Simeone: Positives of ´animal´ Costa outweigh negatives|
|Nadal outclasses Dimitrov to rack up 70th Monte Carlo win|
|Joshua opponent to be confirmed next week - Hearn|
|Focusing after Champions League euphoria is difficult, concedes Pochettino|
|Khedira to undergo knee surgery|
|No place for Amir in Pakistan World Cup squad|
|With Harry Kane all is possible - Pochettino not ruling out return for Spurs striker|
|Kovac won´t rush Neuer back from latest injury|
|Milner expecting Manchester City reaction against Spurs|
|Messi criticism in Argentina unfair, says Simeone|
|Djokovic breezes through in blustery Monte Carlo|
|Sharks storm back to down fast-starting Panthers|
|Sydney FC 1 Perth Glory 0: Premiers Plate winners downed by Le Fondre|
|Amla pips Hendricks to Proteas World Cup place|
|Horn confident he can deliver if he gets shot at Brook|
|O´Sullivan to face amateur Cahill in World Championship opener|
|McLeish leaves Scotland role after Kazakhstan debacle|
|Manchester City v Tottenham and the greatest Champions League matches in history|
|Barton denies allegations after Barnsley complaint|
|Napoli defender Koulibaly worth €150m, says Ancelotti|
|Barcelona book reunion with Iniesta, Villa on Japan tour|
|Irving: There´s ´nothing like´ delivering for the Celtics in the playoffs|
|Facing Messi will be hard, says Van Dijk|
|Chandimal misses out on Sri Lanka´s World Cup squad|
|Champions League: Ajax v Tottenham, Liverpool v Barcelona semi-final dates confirmed|
|We´re almost there - Harden sees Rockets peaking in playoffs|
|Hazard is Chelsea´s best foreign player, says Zola|
|Bernardo Silva: Man City want titles, not Spurs revenge|
|Giannis has faith in Budenholzer to keep him fresh|
|Ireland skipper Best to retire after World Cup|
|In my head we were eliminated - Sissoko unaware Sterling´s goal had been disallowed|
|Wallabies can win World Cup without ´completely wrong´ Folau - Genia|
|Liverpool exit unfair, says Porto´s Conceicao|
|Lara 375: I have to explain he didn´t score them all off me - Lewis|
|Lara 375: The progression of Test cricket´s record score|
|Vancouver Whitecaps 1 Los Angeles FC 0: Hwang stuns conference leaders|
|Llorente: It had to be a goal|
|Braves, Red Sox bullpens both lose as Kimbrel sits at home|
|Klopp not worrying about Messi just yet|
|Zion Williamson assists couple with epic gender reveal dunk|
|Russell Wilson wants to be a ´Seahawk for life´|
|Celtics rally for win over Pacers, Bucks pull away from Pistons|
|Pochettino: Espanyol survival still my happiest moment as coach|
|2019 NFL schedule: Five must-see prime-time games|
|Miller to appeal licence decision, denies wrongdoing|
|Here´s how Gronkowski dented the Lombardi Trophy|
|2019 NFL schedule: Five dates to circle on your calendar|
|2019 NFL schedule: Five potholes on Patriots´ road to repeat|
|2019 NFL schedule: Five takeaways from fixture release|
|Simmons ´average´ in half-court offense, says Dudley|
|Tottenham aren´t finished – Son dreaming big after ´very crazy game´|
|Spurs players are heroes - Pochettino revels in incredible triumph|
|There was no performance at all – Tuchel blasts PSG|
|Eriksen: I must be one of the luckiest guys on the planet|
|Giroud ´very frustrated´ with Chelsea back-up role|
|Guardiola still backing VAR despite reservations over Llorente goal|
|Chaos and cruel twist leave Guardiola out of control in Champions League|
|Guardiola laments ´cruel´ Champions League exit|
|Klopp hails ´special´ side as Liverpool return to semi-finals|
|Durant needs to be more aggressive in playoffs - Kerr|
|Manchester City 4 Tottenham 3 (4-4 agg): VAR denies Sterling as Spurs win classic tie on away goals|
|Porto 1 Liverpool 4 (1-6 agg): Reds run riot to set up Barcelona semi-final|
|Archer keen not to upset World Cup stars after England call-up|
|New Pelicans chief Griffin confident Davis will stay|
|Nantes 3 Paris Saint-Germain 2: Tuchel´s title wait continues in untidy defeat|
|Bairstow inspires Sunrisers past out-of-sorts Super Kings|
|Origi starts at Porto as Klopp rests Firmino|
|Emery applauds Sokratis for Arsenal adaptation|