Ichiro has worn uniform #51 since 1992, when he was an 18-year-old rookie playing for the Orix BlueWave in Japan. When he became a Mariner in 2001, he was at first reluctant to wear 51, since it was previously sported by former Mariner pitching sensation Randy Johnson. However, he agreed to it anyway: “I’m very fortunate the Mariners would let me wear 51, and I’ll work hard not to damage the reputation of the number.”
On Monday, upon his trade to the Yankees, he had to give 51 up. In New York, the number is closely identified with beloved Yankee outfielder Bernie Williams, who played his entire pro career in the Bronx between 1991 and 2006. The Yankees haven’t retired Bernie’s number, but they won’t let Ichiro wear it, either. So, Ichiro is now #31.
Actually, that second album was recorded by some other Ichiro Suzuki. My bad.