Former Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki pitches during a game between his amateur baseball team Kobe Chiben and a team of selected high school female players at Tokyo Dome in the Japanese capital on Nov. 21, 2023. (Photo by Kyodo News via Getty Images)
CNN  — 

He may have retired from professional baseball four years ago, but Ichiro Suzuki certainly hasn’t lost his appetite for the game.

Likely a future Hall of Famer for his stellar Major League Baseball (MLB) career as an outfielder, Ichiro, 50, not only still likes to play, but he’s doing it as a pitcher.

A Japanese high school girls’ team found out just how well he can throw during Ichiro’s annual All-Star game on Tuesday.

The game, which was first played two years ago, was set up to encourage women to play baseball in Japan – and Ichiro was certainly all in.

According to, Ichiro threw a 116-pitch, complete game shutout and struck out nine in the 4-0 victory at the Tokyo Dome.

He even dusted off an 86-miles-per-hour fastball during the game which, in truth, might give some of the best hitters in the world something to think about.

Ichiro was joined in the game by former MLB pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka – who played for the Boston Red Sox and New York Mets – and retired from professional baseball in 2021, with the pair excited to show off their skills once again.

As well as his prowess from the mound, Ichiro also picked up two hits in the game – a relief given he went hitless during the last two years of the exhibition contest, according to

“Personally, I am glad to be able to make a hit. I would like to continue training in hopes to motivate the female athletes,” Ichiro said after the game, according to Japanese broadcaster NHK.

Former Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki bats during a game between his amateur baseball team Kobe Chiben and a team of selected high school female players at Tokyo Dome in the Japanese capital on Nov. 21, 2023. (Photo by Kyodo News via Getty Images)

The Japanese great certainly inspired the opposition during the game, both with his exploits as well as being struck out by Okayama Gakugeikan High School’s Ryona Domae in one inning, leading the aspiring young athlete to beam with excitement.

“I was really looking forward to this match with Ichiro. I was determined to get a win, but the fact that I got to strike him out is a memory I will cherish forever,” Domae said on Japan’s TBS Sports.

“Knowing that I was able to strike out Ichiro, I think I can compete with confidence in future matches.”

Ichiro praised the pitcher, saying to an ecstatic Domae: “I had a weird feeling [being struck out] – I typically have very few strike outs. You should be proud of yourself.”

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Ichiro’s professional debut came with the Orix Blue Wave of Japan’s Pacific League on July 11, 1992. He played in Japan from 1992-2000, winning three consecutive MVP awards and seven straight batting titles.

When he made the move to the Seattle Mariners in 2001 – becoming the first Japanese position player to sign with an MLB team – Ichiro emphatically made his mark. He went on to win the American League MVP and Rookie of the Year awards that year, becoming just the second player ever to win both honors in the same season.

From 2001-2010, Ichiro won 10 consecutive Gold Glove Awards and made 10 straight trips to the All-Star Game.

In 2016, he recorded his 3,000th MLB hit to join an elite list of players to reach such a landmark.

In addition to the Mariners, Ichiro played for the New York Yankees and Miami Marlins in his MLB career.

For fans itching for more of Ichiro on the field after Tuesday’s game, the baseball great had some good news as he emphasised that the series would continue.

“I felt the energy of everyone and it was the most happiest moment me – and I believe it was for Matsuzaka and the high school team as well. Thank you so much everyone,” he added.

“But especially for the high school female athletes who will continue on with this sport, in hopes that I can be their motivation. I will continue my training and so will Matsuzaka. I want to do this again next year at the Tokyo Dome!”