Numbers can give us, or show us a lot of meanings, every number has its own unique way of showing its own significance to one person… Even the jersey number of a player we root for.
Let’s take a look at Ichiro Suzuki’s jersey number “51” for example, and the meaning behind that 2 digit number… (did he use those numbers because of the well known, Area 51? Nope…) okay okay I’ll head on to it now, the reason why he was handed, and still chose that 51, and what it indicates… the number he have when he was still a rookie in the NPB Pacific League, Orix Bluewave (now the Orix Buffaloes)… the number he still chose heading to play in the MLB, Seattle Mariners… the very number he is still wearing today, in a Miami Marlins uniform. The meaning of those two digit number indicates that he wants to keep playing as long as possible, to reach 51 and still playing at that desired number… Ichiro has set his mind to retire at that number when he was still with Orix in the NPB… he is determined that he would love to still play Baseball at the age of 51 (would retire at age 52), the very number stated on the back of his jersey (the number “51″ on his jersey also represents as a “low” jersey number when it comes to playing puro “Yakyu”, the way they called their Baseball there in Japan, as he was handed out the number 51 due to him being a low draft pick status coming up from high school, he was then soon asked to use the number “7“, one of the leagues prestigious number, after posting outstanding results playing with his team in year 1994, straight to his then final season with Orix in year 2000… but he declined the number 7, and stayed with the number 51 since then after that, this is probably because the number “51” was being belittled playing there, and for him to rise at new heights using this number is what makes it special to him)…
Provided in the statement link I posted here at the 2nd paragraph above (4th sentence)… Ichiro Suzuki recently told owner of the Orix Buffaloes, Yoshihiko Miyauchi (80 years of age) in February of this year, that he is open and very willing to still play Baseball at the age of 51 years old, and has NO intentions of coaching or managing Baseball in the future, even if it’s in the MLB, or NPB… he wants to finish his Baseball career as a ballplayer, and as a ballplayer only.
Both Ichiro and the owner of the Orix Buffaloes has been keeping in touch with one another for quite a while now, and he (Ichiro) would like to play in Japan and head back for Orix again (his original team in the NPB), he is even willing to accept the role as a bench player, as long he still has the chance to play… if, let’s just say… there’s no MLB teams interested in Ichiro in the future… Impossible for him to play at that age, you say? I think not, the oldest player in Japan to ever play professional Baseball was set by pitcher (starter and reliever) Masahiro Yamamoto, at 50 years and 1 month old last season (he made his NPB league debut back in year 1986), he retired at year 2015 seasons end… (not to mention there’s also the ever still always great, Julio Franco… now a Futures league manager with the Busan Lotte Giants in South Korea, he played last season in Japan as a player/coach with the Ishikawa Million Stars at age 57, an Independent league team in Japan)… and also let it be known, that the motto… “年齢はただの数字です“, in Romaji translation, that is “Nenrei wa chodo sudearimasu“, and in English… “Age Is Just A Number“, is a very well known saying in their country, especially among their athletes… After seeing Ichiro play throughout the years and even now, he still has the legs, and can still play like he’s the NPB Orix and Mariners rookie Ichiro Suzuki… and with that determination of his? I have no doubt that he can achieve it, and break Yamamoto’s record there in the NPB… I am looking forward to see Ichiro Suzuki, one of the best players in Baseball in the planet, to see this through in the end.
Records can be broken, as age is just a number… to play the game you love the most, as long as you have the will to still do it, is not impossible for any person to achieve… the day and age you started playing Baseball, till the age you reached 51.
(Also a note I almost forgot: Ichiro didn’t wear the number 51 with the Yankees because it was a number worn by retired Yankee Bernie Williams, Ichiro was just being humble. Knowing Bernie Williams was a well known player for the Yankees, and Ichiro was still just a newcomer in the team at that time.)