July 14, 2009
Busch Stadium, St. Louis
American League 4, National League 3
Before President Obama threw out the first pitch of the ’09 game, he met with Ichiro in the A.L. clubhouse.
“My idea, when I saw him, was to say, ‘What’s up?'”, Ichiro explained through his interpreter. “But there was no way I could do it. You know, he has that kind of aura about him. So I got nervous and I didn’t say that to him. I was a little disappointed about that.”
Instead, Ichiro simply said, “It’s an honor to meet you, sir.”
“I realized after seeing him today that presidents wear jeans, too,” he remarked after the game. “So my hope is that our skipper, [Mariners' then-manager Don] Wakamatsu, was watching that and we can wear jeans on our flights as well.”
Though the players had supposedly been told they couldn’t get autographs, Obama offered to sign a ball for Ichiro, who gladly accepted. (Obama reportedly told Ichiro’s A.L. teammate Curtis Granderson that he’s a big Ichiro admirer.) Though fans who meet Ichiro are usually left starstruck, this is the only time I’ve seen Ichiro starstruck himself…
Ichiro went 1-for-3 with a single. Here he is with Yumiko in the pre-game parade…
While in St. Louis, Ichiro and Yumiko visited the grave of George Sisler, whose single-season record of 257 hits in 1920 was beaten by Ichiro’s 262 hits in 2004. Ichiro laid flowers on the grave.
Read more about the 2009 All-Star Game here.