Baseball Star Ichiro Announces Retirement

Baseball star Ichiro announces retirement

Japanese baseball legend Ichiro Suzuki of the US Major Leagues' Seattle Mariners has announced his retirement.

The 45-year-old outfielder held a news conference after the second of the two-game Opening Series against the Oakland Athletics finished in Tokyo on Thursday.

Ichiro said he is ending his career as an active player. He said he decided to retire when the Mariners' training camp was coming to a close.

Ichiro said he failed to produce results during the camp although his contract with the team allowed him to play in the games in Japan. But he added he regrets nothing.

Ichiro said he promised and truly believed that he would be able to remain an active player at least until he turns 50. He said he was unable to fulfill the promise but that he would not have been able to come this far without making the promise.

Ichiro said he has no idea what he will do after retirement. He definitively ruled out serving as a team manager.

Last May, Ichiro transitioned to the role of Special Assistant to the team's chairman and was not on the active roster for the season.

But Ichiro continued practicing with the team and started in this season's opening game on Wednesday. That was his first appearance in about 10 months in an official game.

Ichiro turned pro when he joined the then-Orix BlueWave of Japan's Pacific League in 1992. His batting style featured a pendulum front-leg swing.

In his third year with the team, he became the first Japanese player to achieve 200 or more hits in a single season. Since that year, he has won seven straight batting titles.

Ichiro moved to the Seattle Mariners in the off-season of 2000. In his first year with the team, he became the batting title champion and stolen base leader in the American League. He also won the league's Rookie of the Year and MVP awards in the same season.

Ichiro is the first MLB player to attain 10 consecutive 200-hit seasons. His career hit total of 4,367 in Japan and the US surpasses the all-time MLB-only record of 4,256.