After signing fan-favourite Munenori Kawasaki to a minor league contract Jan. 16, 2015, Blue Jays fans were excited that Japan’s most decorated MLB free agent could be hopping on board as well. Photo: Ichiro takes batting practice at the Rogers Centre June 9, 2015. Credit: Dr. Jonathan Eto.
MLB fan favourite, Munenori Kawasaki, takes batting practice as the Seattle Mariners visit the Rogers Centre April 7, 2012.
But Toronto’s hopes went south of the border after all-star Ichiro Suzuki signed with the Miami Marlins on Jan. 27, 2015 with a reported $2 million one-year contract with incentives.
Ichiro was Kawasaki’s childhood hero before becoming teammates in Seattle with the Mariners. Having similar playing styles and a fondness for each other, Ichiro affectionately has called Muni his “Little Brother”.
While Kawasaki will be entering his third season with the Blue Jays franchise and fifth in the MLB, Ichiro will be in his 15th MLB season.
Ichiro is chasing a World Series Championship and is 156 hits shy of the golden 3000 career MLB hit mark. Jays fans may remember on August 21, 2013 in Toronto, Suzuki hit his 4000th combined professional career hit while playing for the Yankees.
Highlighting some of his baseball accolades, the Future Hall of Famer holds the MLB record for most hits in a season with 264 (2004), and most consecutive 200-hit seasons with 10 (2001-10). He’s a 10x MLB All-Star and 7x NPB All-Star.