Despite being 50 years old, Seattle Mariners legend Ichiro Suzuki — former MLB MVP and member of the prestigious 3,000-hit club — recently proved that he's still got it, even if "it" came against a high school girls baseball team.
In Japan on Tuesday morning, Ichiro dusted off the old glove and suited up once again, against a Japanese high school girls all-star team. Although Ichiro was an outfielder throughout his 28 seasons of professional baseball (both in the MLB and in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball), he took the mound against the high school girls — and put on the pitching performance of a lifetime.
Ichiro pitched a complete game, a nine-inning shutout, conceding only five hits and two walks while recording nine strikeouts over 116 pitches thrown. Ichiro also topped out at 86 mph with his fastball during the game, as well as recorded two hits (one double) at the plate.
50-year-old Ichiro?s pitching line tonight against a High School girls all-star team
9.0 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K, 116 P
He topped out at 86 mph on the mound and recorded two hits at the plate pic.twitter.com/AA9AJCZB0Z
— Yakyu Cosmopolitan (@yakyucosmo) November 21, 2023
Quite an impressive showing from the 10-time MLB All-Star, 10-time Gold Glove Award-winner, three-time Silver Slugger Award-winner and future Hall of Famer. Perhaps he was channeling his inner Shohei Ohtani, baseball's current two-way Japanese megastar.
The logical question after hearing about Ichiro's performance is this: Why was an MLB legend playing against a high school girls baseball team?
Well, the answer is simple: Because he can.
Since officially retiring from the MLB in 2019, Ichiro has been known to pop up at various baseball events across his home country to promote his beloved game and share his baseball knowledge with Japan's youth. In fact, Ichiro played in this same high school girls All Star game back in 2021 and threw 147 pitches during that game.
Earlier this month, Ichiro also smashed a high school's window with a 426-foot home run he hit during a batting practice he took with another team. The high school didn't make him pay for it.
Despite his success on the mound, it wasn't all smiles at the plate for Ichiro during Tuesday's game, as he actually struck out looking at one point. While Ichiro didn't seem too happy about the third-strike call (which we'd argue missed wide and should have been a ball), that probably made the moment even more memorable for the high school girl who can now say she struck out Ichiro Suzuki.
Hopefully, Ichiro can keep playing in games like these for years to come. Considering that he's throwing 86 mph and still mashing doubles, there seems to be no reason he'd slow down anytime soon.
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