By Ariel Scotti / March 21, 2019

Ichiro Suzuki Retires From Professional Baseball

Suzuki is a career .311 hitter.

ichiro retires
Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners retired on Thursday. (Masterpress/ Getty Images)

While most of the baseball-loving population in America began its Thursday morning, Ichiro Suzuki was waving his cap at the end of his final MLB game in Japan.

Suzuki told his team, the Seattle Mariners, that he was retiring after Thursday’s game in Tokyo, ESPN reported.

After the Mariners took the field in the eighth inning, all players except Suzuki left for the dugout. Instead of joining his team, Suzuki waved to the crowd from the dugout before leaving the game for defensive replacement Braden Bishop. Suzuki received a standing ovation from the crowd and hugs from his Seattle teammates.

Suzuki, 45, went 0-for-4 on the day and grounded out to short in his final at-bat of an 18-year career.

While his retirement was long expected, some in the baseball world believed he’d save his final at-bats for the end of the Mariners-Athletics series in his native Japan.

“Seven years ago, it appeared he had played for the last time in Japan,” Fumihiro Fujisawa, head of the Japanese Association of Baseball Research, told The Associated Press. “I don’t think anybody believed he would be active now.”

Suzuki is all but certain to one day claim his spot in Cooperstown at the Baseball Hall of Fame. He’s a career .311 hitter with 780 RBIs, 509 stolen bases and 3089 hits. He was nominated to 10 All-Star Games, was the AL MVP in 2001, — the same year he won Rookie of the Year — took home two batting titles, 10 Gold Gloves, three Silver Sluggers and finished first in hits seven times.