Ichiro on the Hilo Stars

This is new to me — Ichiro played a season in the now-defunct Hawaiian Winter Baseball league. The 20-year-old spent the HWB’s inaugural 1993 season with the Hilo Stars, wearing uniform number 5.

He spent the previous two seasons playing for the Orix BlueWave of Nippon Professional Baseball, though mostly in the team’s farm system. However, following his winter in Hawaii, Ichiro had a monster breakout ’94 season with Orix, batting .385 average (a Pacific League record), and 210 hits (an NPB record).

According to this, Ichiro hit a 500-foot home run for Hilo (the “Shinkansen Homer”?), though I find that hard to believe. This is the backside of the baseball card up above…

Says his favorite song at the time was “Drop the Base” [sic] by DJ Magic Mike.

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5 responses to “Ichiro on the Hilo Stars

  1. Now you see why the Hawaii Winter League was so rad. As far as I can tell, MLB pulled funding just ’cause they figured they could get a comparable product for cheaper by having it on the Mainland. But I think it shutting it down robbed fans of invaluable, singular chances to see rising stars of the majors alongside KBO and NPB players. As well, they really blew it not supporting baseball’s legacy in the islands, essentially ceding all sporting attention to UH football.

  2. Yeah, that stinks. Though it’s cool that Alexander Cartwright lived and died there:

    http://www.hawaiianhistory.org/moments/baseball.html

  3. I have a baseball from the Winter League inaugural game that was signed by Ichiro Suzuki. Pretty cool!

  4. Pingback: Ichiro on the Hilo Stars: Video | Super Ichiro Crazy!

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