CINCINNATI -- There's been a lot of attention paid this week to a young player signed by the Reds out of Mexico.
The young man's name is Ichiro Cano Hernandez, a switch-hitting third baseman who turned 19 on Wednesday and signed with Cincinnati on Tuesday. You probably expected to hear that Hernandez's first name was chosen to honor a certain player of baseball royalty.
Alas, he was not named after that Ichiro.
“They gave me the name because my Dad had a Japanese friend named Ichiro who was a surfer," Hernandez said in an emailed statement provided by the Reds. "My dad’s name is Eugenio. The two of their families were each expecting a boy, and they decided to name their sons after each other -- my Dad gave me the name of his friend, and his Japanese friend named his son after my Dad.”
Hailing from San José del Cabo on Mexico’s Pacific coast, Hernandez debuted as a 17-year-old professional in 2022 with Diablos Rojos. He's also played winter ball for Culiacán and internationally for his country in the under-18 Baseball World Cup.
Ichiro Suzuki made his name in the game across two countries -- Japan and the United States. A very likely future Hall of Famer who played 19 seasons in the Major Leagues from 2001-19 while collecting 3,089 hits, Suzuki was a 10-time All-Star, a 10-time Gold Glove winner and the winner of both the American League MVP and Rookie of the Year Awards in 2001 for the Mariners.