When Ichiro Suzuki joined the Seattle Mariners after a career in Japan, there were questions about how well his game and his modest frame would translate in Major League Baseball. Well, Ichiro began answering those questions right away. In front of 45,911 Opening Day fans at Safeco Field on April 2, 2001, he made his debut and led off with a single up the middle in the seventh to start a comeback that would result in a 5-4 Seattle victory over Oakland.
Ichiro never stopped reaching base and drawing loud ovations, either. He finished that season with a rookie-record 242 hits, the most by any player since 1930. Take a look at the MLB.com video and there is one especially poignant scene now. He is greeted at first base by Jason Giambi, the first of so many of those first-base conversations Ichiro would have with players at that position. Fast-forward to 2014, and both stars are still in the game playing a role for American League contenders — Ichiro with the Yankees (as No. 31 now, because Bernie Williams was 51 in pinstripes) and Giambi with the Indians. 2014 MLB Schedule | Tickets