Ichiro Suzuki was born on October 22, 1973 in Toyoyama, Nishikasugai, Aichi Prefecture, Japan. By the age of seven, he had already joined his first baseball team. During this time, his father Nobuyuki trained him much harder than any of the other kids as he wanted his son to be the absolute best baseball player he could be. Although Ichiro Suzuki
has said that the training was a miserable time for him and that his father practically tortured him with baseball, it is very possibly one of the reasons for his success in professional baseball both in Japan and in the United States.
Ichiro Suzuki went on to play high school baseball at one of the best programs in Japan. During his high school baseball career, he was a pitcher and had outstanding numbers as a hitter. In November of 1991, after he graduated from high school, he was selected in the fourth round of the Japanese baseball professional draft. The following year, in 1992, he made his debut in Japan’s Pacific League at the age of 18.
He spent most of his time playing for farm league teams because the major professional team did not approve his strange swing. In 1994, there was a coaching change for the Blue Wave of the Pacific League, and the new coach started Ichiro Suzuki. That year, Ichiro set the Japanese single-season record for most hits and batting average. He batted .385 with 210 total hits. As a result of his record breaking batting, he was awarded his first Pacific League MVP award. He would win the MVP award the next two years. He won the batting title the next seven straight seasons in Japan.
In 2000, it became clear that Ichiro Suzuki wanted to play professional baseball in the United States and that his Japanese team could no longer afford to pay him. The Seattle Mariners signed him to a three year, $14 million contract, making him the first Japanese-born everyday player in Major League Baseball history.
During his rookie season in 2001, Ichiro Suzuki had a total of 242 hits, a rookie record and the most hits by anyone since 1930. He won the American League MVP Award and the Rookie of the Year award. In 2004, he had his highest hits output to date when he collected a total of 262 hits, the all-time Major League Baseball record.
Ichiro Suzuki has been named an All-Star every year he has been in the Major Leagues including his rookie season. He is also noted as being one of the best defensive players in professional baseball, being awarded a Gold Glove every season he has been in the Majors as well.