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[JAPAN SPORTS NOTEBOOK] Ichiro Suzuki is a Shoo-in for Baseball Hall of Fame in 2025

MLB experts also believe Ichiro Suzuki will become the second player to be a unanimous selection in Hall of Fame balloting. Mariano Rivera was the first.



Ichiro Suzuki
Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki bats in his final MLB game against the Oakland Athletics on March 21, 2019, at Tokyo Dome. (ⒸSANKEI)

Read the full story on SportsLook - [JAPAN SPORTS NOTEBOOK] Ichiro Suzuki is a Shoo-in for Baseball Hall of Fame in 2025

The official ballot for 2025 National Baseball Hall of Fame candidates won't be released until November 2024. Ichiro Suzuki will be eligible to appear on it for the first time.

To be eligible for consideration as a Hall of Famer in 2025, a player must have had a career of 10 or more seasons in Major League Baseball. He is also required to have retired by 2019. What's more, a player must receive a minimum of 75% of the votes from the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) in Hall of Fame balloting.

In voting for the 26 eligible candidates for 2024, former star third baseman Adrian Beltre received 366 votes (among 385 ballots). Beltre's name appeared on 95.1% of the ballots.

Not unanimous, but the overwhelming support for Beltre's selection for Hall of Fame induction reminds this reporter of the confirmation of former New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera in 2019. Rivera became the first player to be elected unanimously.

Now, looking ahead to 2025, numerous longtime baseball observers believe Ichiro will be the second unanimous selection.

The Hall of Fame induction ceremony is usually held in late July each year in Cooperstown, New York.

In other words, Ichiro should block off several days on his calendar and make plans to be in idyllic upstate New York.

Ichiro Suzuki
Ichiro Suzuki appeared in 2,653 games in his MLB career and rapped out 3,089 hits. (ⒸSANKEI)

Making the Case for Ichiro Suzuki to Be Inducted in 2025

Journalist and author Robert Whiting, who penned the best-selling You Gotta Have Wa (1989) and The Meaning of Ichiro (2004), among other classics, believes it's a done deal for Ichiro next year.

In an email inquiry on Friday, January 26, Whiting was asked the following: In your opinion, is Ichiro a first-ballot unanimous pick to be an MLB Hall of Famer? Should he be? Will he be, in your prognostication?

He quickly responded with this answer: "Yes, yes and yes. [It] should be unanimous."

Ichiro Suzuki
Ichiro Suzuki was a 10-time MLB All-Star and a 10-time Gold Glove winner. (ⒸSANKEI)

Whiting then cited illuminating facts to back up his opinion. He noted Ichiro's record of 10 straight 200-hit seasons at the outset of his MLB career and he cited Ichiro's 3,089 career hits in MLB and a combined total of 4,367 from NPB and the big leagues. This included MLB's all-time single-season record of 262 hits in 2004.


He was a "peerless outfielder," wrote Whiting, "with a great arm."

Another attribute gave Ichiro unique distinction on both sides of the Pacific Ocean.

Ichiro had "the best work ethic in MLB history," Whiting declared.

Ichiro Suzuki
Ichiro Suzuki, seen playing for the Orix BlueWave in an August 1996 file photo. (ⒸSANKEI)

Additional Views on Ichiro's Outstanding Career

Jordan Shusterman, an MLB analyst for Fox Sports, agrees with Whiting's prediction that Ichiro will become a 2025 Hall of Famer.

"This man racked up 3,089 hits in the majors after collecting 1,278 knocks in Nippon Professional Baseball," Shusterman wrote in a Fox Sports article. "He is completely unlike any player we've ever seen and might ever see again. A living legend through and through, Ichiro's career will be a joy to reflect upon and celebrate further in a year's time." 

Similarly, MLB.com's David Adler penned a January article, "7 storylines to follow for 2025 ballot," that underscores how big a story Ichiro's pending selection already is.

Here's a snippet of Adler's analysis: "Ichiro will be on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time in 2025, and the only question isn't whether he's a Hall of Famer … It's not even whether he's a first-ballot Hall of Famer … It's whether he'll be the next unanimous Hall of Famer."

Continue reading the full story, which includes news on boxing, tennis and more, on SportsLook.


Author: Ed Odeven

Find Ed on JAPAN Forward's dedicated website, SportsLook. Follow his [Japan Sports Notebook] on Sundays, [Odds and Evens] during the week, and X (formerly Twitter) @ed_odeven


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