He was an obvious candidate to do so, because of his extraordinary career.
He played 10 years in the Nippon Professional League in Japan before making the jump to MLB, in 2001.
He then played 20 years in the world’s best league, mostly with the Mariners but also with other squads.
Ichiro has been one of the most influential players in baseball: he retired with a .311 batting average, 3,089 hits, 117 home runs, 780 RBI, and 509 stolen bases.
Those stats earned him 10 All-Star berths, the 2001 AL MVP and Rookie of the Year awards, 10 Gold Gloves, three Silver Slugger awards, and two batting crowns.
Not only that, but Ichiro earned the love and respect of both teammates and opponents.
Ichiro Has A Lot Of Fans Around The League
One of the players who recently showed his admiration for Ichiro was Cincinnati Reds’ slugger Joey Votto.
“I loved Ichiro as a player. My minor league teammates and I would emulate many of his on field mannerisms. Now I consider him a mentor. Congrats Ichiro, on your Mariners HOF induction. Pizzas are on me!” Votto tweeted after he was inducted to the Mariners’ HOF.
I loved Ichiro as a player. My minor league teammates and I would emulate many of his on field mannerisms. Now I consider him a mentor. Congrats Ichiro, on your Mariners HOF induction. Pizzas are on me! https://t.co/eZNJPXzbhz
— Joey Votto (@JoeyVotto) August 28, 2022
Baseball is a beautiful game: even our idols had, or have, their own idols.
Ichiro talked, during his induction speech, about his own fascination with fellow Mariners legend Ken Griffey Jr., and it’s nice to hear and read players talking the same way about the Japanese star who took the league by storm in 2001.
In a couple of years, when he is eligible for the National Baseball Hall of Fame, he will have a place among the immortals, too.