How an Asian batting champ became American baseball's newest star!
Meet baseball's rookie sensation Ichiro Suzuki...from the top spot in Japan to the Seattle Mariners' right field.
Seven-time batting champion for Japan's Pacific League, he is a paradoxical combination of modesty and ego, calling himself simply "Ichiro." But when the Seattle Mariners signed him to a fourteen-million-dollar contract, scoffers said the 5-foot-9 inch, 156-pound Ichiro wasn't even in the ballpark. He proved them wrong. With fast legs and an even faster bat, he led the Mariners to their best start in franchise history.
Now, sportswriter Rob Rains takes an in-depth look at Ichiro and the new wave of talented Japanese players, including last year's Rookie of the Year, Kazuhiro Sasaki of the Seattle Mariners, and Hideo Nomo of the Boston Red Sox, former Yankee Hideki Irabu and Mets outfielder Tsuyoshi Shinjo. American fans are learning what the Japanese already know-- these amazing players are already mapping out baseball's future, proving that this grand slam Asian invasion is here to stay...
Rob Rains is the author or co-author of nine sports books, including Mark McGwire: Home Run Hero for St. Martin's Press. He also wrote The St. Louis Cardinals: The 100th Anniversary History, as well as co-authored Red: A Baseball Life with Cardinal Hall of Famer, Red Schoendienst, and Jack Buck: That's a Winner! with broadcaster Jack Buck. A frequent contributor to The Sporting News, Rains lives with his family in St. Louis.