NEW YORK (July 23, 2012) — The New York Yankees announced Monday they have acquired 10-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove Award-winning outfielder Ichiro Suzuki and cash considerations from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for right-hand pitchers D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar.
Suzuki, 38, had played his entire 12-year Major League career with the Seattle Mariners since becoming the first Japan-born position player in Major League history. He owns a .322 (2,533-for-7,858) career batting average with 1,176 runs, 295 doubles, 79 triples, 99 home runs, 633 runs batted-in (RBI), 438 stolen bases, 513 walks and a .366 on-base percentage in 1,844 games. Among active players, Suzuki is second in steals, third in batting average (minimum 3,000 at bats) and sixth in hits. Since his debut in 2001, he has 330 more hits than any other Major Leaguer.
In 2012, Suzuki is batting .261 (105-for-402) with 49 runs, 15 doubles, 4 home runs, 28 RBI and 15 steals in 17 attempts in 95 games (93 in RF, 2 as DH).
Suzuki will become the sixth Japan-born player in Yankees franchise history, joining Hideki Irabu (1997-99), Hideki Matsui (2003-09), Kei Igawa (2007-08), Hiroki Kuroda (2012) and Ryota Igarashi (2012).
Suzuki is a two-time AL batting champion (.350 in 2001 and .372 in 2004) and has led or tied for the Major League lead in hits seven times (2001, ’04, ‘06-10), tying Pete Rose and Ty Cobb for the most such seasons all time. Additionally, he is the only player in Major League history to accomplish the feat in five consecutive years. From his debut season through 2010, he finished first or second in the AL in hits every year, and in 2011, he finished ninth.
Prior to playing in the Majors, Suzuki played for the Orix Blue Wave in Japan’s Pacific League for nine seasons (1992-2000) and was named the league’s MVP three times (1994-96). In 951 career games with Orix, he hit .353 (1,278-for-3,619) with 653 runs, 211 doubles, 23 triples, 118 home runs, 529 RBI and 199 stolen bases. Suzuki led the league in batting average for a Japanese-record seven straight years (1994-2000), while also winning a Gold Glove Award and being named to the Pacific League’s “Best Nine” in each of those seven seasons.
In his Major League rookie season of 2001, Suzuki batted a league-high .350 (242-for-692) with 34 doubles, 8 triples, 8 home runs, 69 RBI and a Major League-high 56 stolen bases, in becoming just one of two players all time to win the Rookie of the Year Award and the MVP in the same season, joining Boston’s Fred Lynn (1975).
In 2004, Suzuki recorded 262 hits, to set the all-time modern era (since 1900) single-season hits mark. Along with his 242 hits in 2001 and 238 hits in 2007, Suzuki owns three of the top 20 single-season hits totals in Major League history. He had at least 200 hits in 10 straight seasons from 2001 through 2010, tying Pete Rose for the most 200-hit seasons in a Major League career.
Suzuki’s 2,533 career hits since 2001 are the most by any player through his first 12 Major League seasons. In fact, at the conclusion of all but one of his 12 seasons, Suzuki has held the distinction of having more hits to start a career than any other Major Leaguer all time with the lone exception occurring after his third season, when only Lloyd Waner (678) had more hits than Suzuki’s 662 (according to data at www.baseball-reference.com).
Over his career, Suzuki has made 1,790 starts as an outfielder (1,525 in RF and 265 in CF) and owns a career fielding percentage of .992 with just 33 errors in 4,181 total chances. The Yankees, with 10-time Gold Glove outfielder Andruw Jones also on the roster, now have two of the six outfielders in Major League history to win at least 10 career Gold Gloves (also Roberto Clemente-12, Willie Mays-12, Ken Griffey Jr.-10 and Al Kaline-10).
Since the start of his Major League career in 2001, Suzuki has led the Majors with 1,844 games played, while missing just 35 team games.