Ichiro Suzuki had an incredible MLB career with 3089 hits, 509 stolen bases, and a .311 batting average over 19 seasons. That included a major league record 262 hit season (while hitting .372) in 2004 and an MVP (and ROY) during his rookie season. Additionally, Ichiro was a 10x All-Star, 10x gold glove award winner and put up ten straight 200-hit seasons, which is the longest streak of that nature in the game’s history. What’s more impressive is that his major league career followed a Nippon Professional Baseball career in Japan that spanned the 1992-2000 timeframe. When you combine his Japanese and American baseball careers, he has the most hits by any player in top-tier leagues with 4367. Ichiro will be eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2025 and has a slight chance to be the next unanimous first-ballot inductee, the last being Derek Jeter. With his monstrous popularity between the two countries, I thought it would be interesting to look at five great Ichiro baseball cards. By the way, his PSA master set has 2104 cards!
1993 BBM #239 Ichiro Suzuki Blue Wave
The 1993 BBM is one of Ichiro’s most popular Japanese cards and is usually considered his true rookie card. It’s often counterfeited, so if you’re interested in acquiring one, I recommend going with a graded copy. The card has a PSA population of around 940, and PSA 10s are over $2k. But, you can find a nice PSA 8 example for about $175.
1993 Tomy I.D. #102 Ichiro Suzuki Blue Wave
Another early Japanese Ichiro card, with a PSA population of just 432, the 1993 Tomy I.D., commands huge prices and rarely comes to market. PSA lists the last PSA 10 sale in May 2021 for $2700 and a PSA 8 in May 2021 for $340. While not as popular as the BBM manufactured cards, they are still pretty desirable, even though the design is simple. When it comes to printings, the bottom right corner of the back has 69-001 and 69-002 versions, with 001 being more common.
1995 U.D. Collector’s Choice #59 Ichiro Suzuki
Since the NBA opened their 1994 season in Japan, Ichiro was a guest for both Clippers/Blazers games, and an Upper Deck representative grabbed a few photos of the baseball star and made a media card that is thought to have a print run of under 200 cards. PSA shows only five graded at this link, but in the PSA Cert App, when I type in certification #60077752, it displays a PSA 8 population of 12 with eight higher, so perhaps I’m looking in the wrong place. Some consider this the holy grail of Ichiro cards since it’s so rare. I can’t even begin to put a price on it since I can’t find a recent sale, but in 2009 it was already valued at over $1k.
2001 Bowman Chrome Refractor #351 Ichiro Suzuki Japanese Variation
Ichiro’s 2001 Bowman Chrome Refractor is an incredibly popular card that has both Japanese and English versions. However, it was a redemption card, so you won’t pull it from a box. The Japanese version has a population of just 237 (304 for the English version) with only 36 PSA 10 copies. The last 3 PSA 9s have sold for $2520, $2502, and $1725, and the last 10 sold in July 2020 for $2669.
2001 Ultimate Collection #120 Ichiro Autographed
The only card with a weighting of 10 in the PSA registry, the Ultimate Collection Ichiro, has a population of only 32 cards (plus two half grades), and a copy hasn’t come to market in a few years. The last recorded sale was for $4783 in July 2019 for a PSA 8.
Ichiro remains a highly collected player in the hobby whose upcoming Hall of Fame induction has a chance to make these five cards even harder to find.
Let me know down in the comments or over on Twitter what your favorite Ichiro card is.