In honor of Ichiro's return to the Mariners, here are some of the best homecomings in baseball history
Last Wednesday, the Mariners made official the biggest homecoming of the 2018 season by signing
Now, over five years since a midseason trade sent Ichiro to the Yankees in 2012, he's returning to Seattle. In honor of his homecoming, let's look back at five other important and heartwarming reunions in baseball history.
Eddie Collins, Philadelphia Athletics
In the prime of his career, Collins was part of the A's $100,000 infield along with Home Run Baker, Jack Barry and Stuffy McInnis. That quartet propelled the A's to four American League pennants and three World Series titles over five years from 1910 to 1914. But after losing to the "Miracle Braves" in the 1914 World Series, Philadelphia sold Collins to the White Sox.
Collins won a World Series on the South Side in 1917 and remained with the team through 1926, serving as a player-manager in those final two seasons. After the 1926 season, at age 39, Chicago released him -- setting up a reunion with his former team.
He signed with the Athletics as a player-manager and put together a good age-40 campaign in 1927, hitting .336 in nearly 300 plate appearances. Over the next three seasons, Collins was primarily a manager, but still made 49 trips to the plate from 1928 to 1930. He entered the Hall of Fame in 1939 as part of its first induction ceremony.
Don Sutton, Los Angeles Dodgers
Sutton made his Major League debut in 1966 as the fourth starter behind Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Claude Osteen, and he proceeded to strike out 209 batters as a rookie. For the next 15 years, he was a staple of the Dodgers' rotation, averaging 34 starts and 249 innings pitched per season and making four All-Star teams.
He spent the next seven seasons bouncing from the Astros to the Brewers to the A's to the Angels before signing with the Dodgers in 1988. He ended his Dodgers career as he began it: At the back of a strong Dodgers rotation, this time featuring Orel Hershiser, Tim Leary, Tim Belcher and Fernando Valenzuela. Despite lacking the strikeout stuff of his earlier days, the 43-year-old pitched to a 3.92 ERA over 16 starts before he was released on Aug. 10.
Tim Raines, Montreal Expos
There's perhaps no more beloved player in Expos history than Raines. He was an All-Star for seven straight years from his rookie season in 1981 until 1987, and stole 70 or more bases in all but one of them.
In December 1990, the Expos traded Raines to the White Sox. He spent the next nine years of his career with the White Sox, Yankees and A's and went to the playoffs four times -- until, in 1999, a lupus diagnosis threatened to end his career.
He attended Yankees camp the following Spring Training, but failed to make the team. After sitting out the 2000 season, Raines got another shot with the Expos and made the most of it, hitting .414 that spring. In his first at bat of Montreal's home opener, the ovation for Raines was so loud and so long that the opposing pitcher walked him on four pitches.
Greg Maddux, Chicago Cubs
Though Maddux is best remembered as one of the 1990s Braves' trio of aces, he first rose to prominence as a Cub. He recorded at least 15 wins, 235 innings and had an ERA under 3.50 in each of his five seasons in Chicago, winning the 1992 NL Cy Young Award before signing with Atlanta that offseason.
Twelve years later, Maddux re-signed with the Cubs as a 38-year-old. His second stint with the team lasted only two-and-a-half seasons, but he racked up plenty of milestones -- including his 300th win in 2004, his first season back on the North Side:
The next year, he waited out a three-hour rain delay to strike out Omar Vizquel for the 3,000th K of his career:
Not a bad way to make a joyous reunion.
Ken Griffey Jr., Seattle Mariners
Griffey captivated an entire generation of baseball fans in the 90's with his sweet swing and casual swagger on the field. (It didn't hurt that some of those Mariners teams were very, very good.) Prior to the 2000 season, however, Griffey's time in Seattle came to an end: Griffey wanted to live closer to his extended family in Cincinnati, and the team honored his request by trading him to the Reds.
He spent the next nine seasons in the Midwest, but when he became a free agent for the first time in his career in the winter of 2008, he decided to return to the Mariners. The move allowed him to hit the 630th -- and final -- home run of his career in a Mariners uniform: