By far, one of my favourite players that I have ever watched was the 2001 MVP of the AL, Ichiro Suzuki. Unlike many baseball fans, I love it when a foreign player comes into a sport and absolutely smashes it. It happens a lot in football, or what many would call soccer. It doesn’t happen much in American sports such as Basketball and American Football, but when it does happen it always feels like a spectacle rather than what is natural. However, when Suzuki started playing, it was clear that he wasn’t a token foreigner playing nor a spectacle, but rather a natural talent.
Suzuki was very enjoyable for me to watch and it is no surprise that he became such a mega star of the support both in Japan and in the United States. Here in the United Kingdom, we may have loved him just as much as the Japanese did, as we have a very large soft spot for all foreign sports athletes who do well in a foreign country. So, when he became the MVP, we were all ecstatic for him. I personally see him as a future hall of famer based on the way he was playing in the past. Although this could be considered quite hyperbolic when judging his whole career.
Unlike many sports stars that go on to be global stars, Suzuki was never what you would call a “golden boy”. He started the first two seasons of his career very badly and it was thought that he would become nothing more than just an average player. That was until he was given a real chance, and very quickly he became a record breaker. It was a pleasure to see him while he was at his best, as I fear that if he was ever ignored for his time in Japan, he never would have made it properly.