Mariners News: Happy Birthday to a Pair of M’s Legends


October 22nd is a very important day to Seattle sports fans. Not only did the Seattle Seahawks lay a beating on the San Francisco 49ers tonight, but two prominent members of the Mariners’ family are also celebrating their birthdays. Ichiro Suzuki turned 42 on Thursday, and Robinson Cano turned 33 on Thursday.

The Mariners made history in 2001 when they inked a skinny 27-year-old from Nagoya, Japan to a big league contract. Ichiro became the first Japanese born position player to appear in the Major Leagues, and he made an immediate impact. Suzuki took home the Rookie of the Year award and was voted the American League MVP as Seattle tied an MLB record with 116 wins in ’01.

Jun 9, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Miami Marlins left fielder Ichiro Suzuki (51) gets ready to bat during the sixth inning in a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. The Toronto Blue Jays won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Ichiro spent 11 and a half electrifying seasons in the Emerald City before being dealt to the New York Yankees just prior to the trade deadline in 2012. Suzuki posted a .322 career batting average with 99 home runs, 633 RBI and 438 stolen bases in a Mariners’ uniform. He won three Silver Sluggers, appeared in 10 consecutive All Star Games and hauled in a Gold Glove 10 years in a row.

The fan favorite etched his name in the record books during the 2004 season. George Sisler‘s record of 257 hits in a single season stood for nearly 85 years, but Ichiro bested him in ’04, tallying 262 base knocks. Suzuki never hit more than 15 home runs in a season, but no one in the M’s lineup was feared more by opposing pitchers.

Ichiro appeared in 151 games this past season with the Miami Marlins, hitting .229. Ichiro has made it clear that he intends to continue playing until he eclipses the 3,000 hit threshold. With 2,935 career hits, Suzuki is likely to surpass the storied mark during the 2016 season.

Robinson Cano shocked the baseball world when he signed a 10 year deal worth $240 million dollars with the Mariners in December of 2013. Cano was a key contributor with the New York Yankees for nearly a decade before bolting for greener pastures.

Since arriving in Seattle, Robby has hit .300 with 35 home runs and 161 RBI through 313 games. Cano has registered a .358 on base percentage and slugged .450 with the Mariners. His power numbers have dropped off significantly with the M’s, but that was more to do with leaving Yankee Stadium than it does with Cano. He has appeared in 6 All Star Games, won five Silver Sluggers and two Gold Gloves. Cano has also finished in the top-5 of AL MVP voting four times.

This past season was an interesting one for the superstar second baseman. Cano got off to the worst start of his career, hitting a measly .238 with 3 home runs on June 30. However, he tore up the league during the second half, posting a .330 average with 17 home runs and 55 RBI. All told, Robby hit .287 with 21 home runs and 79 RBI across 156 games in 2015.

Hopefully, Robinson Cano can carry over his strong second half into 2016. The Mariners are hoping to be relevant in the playoff race next year, and an MVP caliber season from Cano will be critical.

On behalf of Mariners’ fans everywhere, I would like to wish Ichiro Suzuki and Robinson Cano a very happy birthday!

Next: Scott Servais Emerging in Mariners Manager Search

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