Baseball legend Ichiro holds clinic at Tokyo high school

Pool photo / The Yomiuri Shimbun
Ichiro Suzuki demonstrates hitting in front of players from Kokugakuin Kugayama High School in Suginami Ward, Tokyo, on Monday.

Former Seattle Mariners superstar Ichiro Suzuki, who received a touching letter from a group of high school baseball players, responded to the team by holding a clinic for the teens in Tokyo on Monday.

The idea for the clinic became a reality after the 48-year-old former major leaguer in January received notes from every second-year member of the team from Kokugakuin Kugayama High School in Suginami Ward, Tokyo.

“The letter oozes with your passion,” the legend told the group before the clinic. “I have put it in the drawer where I keep important things and I’ll treasure it.”

Suzuki, who works for the Mariners as an instructor and is also a special assistant to the chairman, explained and demonstrated how to run.

“If you swing your arms back, you can widen your stride by a step. And you can take bigger steps when your shoulder blades start to get involved.”

Suzuki in February last year was certified as a former professional baseball player who can coach high schoolers, among players at other levels, under a special exception that limits him to the offseason only.

Last year, Suzuki worked with high schoolers at Wakayama Prefecture’s Chiben Gakuen Wakayama Junior & Senior School, which won the national high school baseball championship this past summer. He plans to conduct similar clinics at two more schools by the end of this year.