|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||Biography Personality Personal leadership|
“The truth about the life of a man is not what he does, but the legend which he creates around himself. “ It is a quote from Oscar Wilde that might well get used to describe one Japanese man by the name of Ichiro Suzuki. Ichiro Suzuki, commonly known as Ichiro, was born on October 22, 1973. He is a former Japanese baseball outfielder who is said to have played a combined 28 seasons in top-level leagues professionally. Most parts of his career were spent within two teams, i.e., the NPB (Nippon Professional Baseball) and MLB (Major League Baseball) (Edelman, 2013). Ichiro inspired many with the many records he set in battle. He has also set history in Japan by recording the most hits of all other Japanese players. He also set a record while playing with MLB by being the first player of the team to enter the Hall of Fame. His career success has had a positive impact not only on Japanese fans but on many worldwide. Many players look up to him for motivation. The study is thus limited to analyzing the life of Ichiro Suzuki as a whole, his success, and the impact he has had globally.
Early Life and Marriage
Ichiro got raised in a small town named Toyoyama, which was precisely outside Nagoya. When he was just seven years old, Ichiro developed an interest in baseball, where he decided to join a baseball team. Nobuyuki Suzuki, his father taught him how to play to be a better player. As the saying states, "practice makes perfect," the two engaged in a daily routine exercise to perfect his baseball skills. The training included fielding 50 outfield and 50 infield balls, hitting 500 and tossing 50 pitches (Bailey, 2017). At the age of 12, Ichiro had already decided what he wanted with his life, and that was to pursue baseball as a profession. His glove got written "concentration" since he viewed baseball from another angle. His training sessions with his father became more severe and were no more for enjoyment or leisure.
At his elder age, Ichiro confessed how the training was demanding and no longer fun for him. His father became more rigorous with the training, and it was very tough for him. “If you want to shine like a sun first burn like a Sun.” a quote from A.P.J Abdul Kalam, which well portrays Ichiro's determination. He was willing to endure all the sufferings and pay all costs to become what he inspired to be in his future. Ichiro was lucky enough to be selected by a high school that had a prestigious program for baseball, where he wasted no time joining it. His father communicated with the coach of the team and urged him never to appraise Ichiro even whenever he has done well with the intent of making his son spiritually healthy.
He got made a pitcher rather than an outfielder due to his extraordinary strong arm. To gain more strength, Ichiro used a heavy shovel to hit Wiffle balls and hurled car tires inclusive of other regimes. The exercise helped him develop hips and wrists, made him more endurance, and added more strength to his body. Ichiro had a small body of 5 feet (177 cm) and a weight of 56kgs, which made him belittled by most teams (Bailey, 2017). He had to wait until the final, fourth round of NPB in the year 1991. In his interview years later, he suggested that it would make him happy when he sees children getting inspired by him despite his small body. Ichiro married Yumiko Fukushima, a former announcer at TBS TV in 1999, at a very low key ceremony. The two have a dog pet but no children. His wife takes care of his finances after a scandal his dad caused him, which destroyed his relationship with him.
Japan (1992 to 2000)
Ichiro got drafted by Orix Blue Wave, which was in the pacific league of Japan upon completing his high school education. His first performance in the league was in 1992 when he was 18 years. His first two seasons were spent in the farm system since his manager by then, Shozo Doi, disliked him due to his batting style that was unorthodox. His swings were termed pendulum due to the motion he created with his legs while kicking. Ichiro was going against the conventional theory of hitting.
His first record was in his second game, which was between the Pacific league and hawks pitcher Keiji Kimura in the year 1993. A new manager then arrived in 1994, who gave Ichiro freedom to swing his way, and he gave Ichiro a starting spot. His response was amazing and raised his battling to mean to .400 in the course of the season and had .385 at its end, which was in the baseball history of Japanese the second-best mark (Bailey, 2017). For the one season, he set a record with 210 hits (Bailey, 2017). He became the first-ever player to reach 200 hits within one season (Bailey, 2017). After his victory, only five players have recorded 200 hits and above within a single season (Bailey, 2017). Those players, unlike Ichiro, who went through the 130 games, went through the 140+ game seasons.
In the year 1994, Ichiro won the first outfielder, where he recorded .385. He hit 29 stolen bases and 13 home runs, which helped him earn the most valuable player (MVP) award (Bailey, 2017). This year also is when he began to appreciate his name, "Ichiro," than just use the family name Suzuki, the second famous Japanese family name. Changing his name was the manager’s idea, who wanted the team to create another image. In 1995, he led the team to the first pennant of the pacific league. Aside from his second title in battling, Ichiro led with 49 stolen bases and 80RBI. At this time, he had begun gaining the press and public attention where the media referred to him as the machine for manufacturing hit. In 1996, he led the team to outshine the CLC (Central League Champion). It got achieved through his third straight MPV award win.
Ichiro got kindled while in an exhibition where he got motivated to joining the major leagues like the all-stars of the United States. In 1998, he took part in another exhibition series set between the Americans and the Japanese. He again won with seven collected stolen bases and .380 (Bailey, 2017). Many of his counterparts in MLB appraised him, including Jamie Moyer and Sammy Sosa, who later became his teammates in the Mariners. Blue Wave in the year 2000 had lost its superiority and was no longer in the list of best teams in Japan. Ichiro negotiated with major leagues so that he can join them. Seattle mariners got interested in negotiating with him at a bid of about 13 million US dollars (Bailey, 2017). He then managed to get a three-year contract of 14 million US dollars with the mariners (Bailey, 2017).
While in his ninth year with the NPB team of Japan, Ichiro had managed to have a batting average of .353, had won seven awards of the golden glove, and had attained 1278 hits (Bailey, 2017). His nine years in Japan was not in vain since he gained a lot of experiences that made him mature as a person and a player. His success and achievements in his career get credited to his earlier time in the Japanese league.
Seattle Mariners (2001 to 2012)
Concerning an agreement made between the mariners and Japanese, Ichiro got not permitted to play before 2001 in the US. His shift to mariners got taken as not being genuine but to have some interest attached to it. It was understandable since he was among the first Japanese players to join the Mariners' team. In the case of his first encounter with the Japanese in the year 1992, Americans, too, believed that he was incapable of succeeding in the 162 game season and MLP (Major League Pitching) (Bailey, 2017). Ichiro debut with mariners was auspicious. His eighth game in mariners proved his great throwing powers when he gunned down Terrence Long of Oakland. Long had made efforts to advance from the first-third while on a single teammate to the right field. His great throwing powers were all over the Japanese media, which covered his progress.
Ichiro got issued by mariners with a #51 number uniform after showing no preference for a certain number. He got resistant, taking the costume since it had earlier been Randy Johnson's uniform (former pitching star). He sent a message to Johnson, assuring him that he was going to respect the uniform by not bringing shame to it. His fears got unfolded after he had an exceptional 2001. He was able to accumulate 242 hits, a record not attained by any player of MLB since the year 1930 (Bailey, 2017). With 56 stolen bases and .350 batting mean, Ichiro emerged as the leading player in the two categories since Robison in 1949 (Bailey, 2017).
Ichiro had gained fans who were willing to pay any cost just to be present in his games. From his home country, fans were more than willing to pay 2000 dollars tours to watch him, and over 150 photographers and reporters from Japan got media access to his games (Bailey, 2017). He led players in voting while all-star got permitted in Japan. He won an award for the year’s rookie and won the most valuable American league player during the winter. He was the second player after Lynn in the history of MLB to break the record of attaining both victories in one season. He was the only player in the history of the major league to have gotten the year's rookie award, all while beginning in the game of all-star in a single season.
His year two in American team ended with Ichiro attaining 208 hits in total (Bailey, 2017). He again broke the record by being the only player in marines who achieved over 200 hits in two succeeding seasons (Bailey, 2017). The year had begun on a good note until a slump which occurred in late season brought down his points to 29 and his average to .321 figures below that of a rookie (Bailey, 2017). Ichiro was among the top five players in the history of MLB to have officiated his career with 2-200 hits seasons (Bailey, 2017). The season came to an end with Ichiro emerging position four, both in steals and batting. He then led in conducting balloting for all-star the second time.
Ichiro garnered 212 hits that made him the third in history to begin his career with 200 hits for the last three seasons (Bailey, 2017). He consummated the season in the top ten positions for batting average, runs, steals and hits. Just like in 2002, a slump too occurred in 2003 that dropped his points to .312 (Bailey, 2017). For the three years Ichiro had been part of the marines, he got elected to the third game of all-star.
2004 was one of his best years since he managed to break George Sisler’s record. He was able to record 257 hits in this season (Bailey, 2017). His victory was mostly due to an increase in the games to be played. Two hundred fifty-four hits got attained in his initial 154 games he played in this season, and 50 hits were recorded within four months, i.e., September to October of this year (Bailey, 2017). He made a record of being the only player to join Pete Rose with 50 hits achieved five times within a career (Bailey, 2017). On May 21st, Ichiro had attained the 2000th hit in his profession. 2001- 2004, Ichiro broke the record of Bill Terry of 918 hits by achieving 924 hits accumulatively (Bailey, 2017). He ended the season with a .372 batting average and 262 hits (Bailey, 2017).
Mike Hargrove became the new marines’ manager after Bob Melvin’s contract failed to get extended. The year remains the worst for Ichiro to date in MLB. His hits dropped to 206, the lowest points he had achieved in his career life (Bailey, 2017). The fifth season, however, he was able to achieve average battling points of .300, over 200 hits, over 30 steals and more than 100 runs (Bailey, 2017). He was able to record 1000 hits in the season, attaining the milestone for his career faster than any MLB player in history (Bailey, 2017).
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