In 2001, Pedro Martinez was coming off back-to-back American League Cy Young Award-winning campaigns, anointing himself as one of the best pitchers in baseball history.
Ichiro Suzuki, meanwhile, was about to embark on his rookie season with the Seattle Mariners, a season in which he would win both MVP and Rookie of the Year while leading the Mariners to a record-tying 116 wins.
And the two baseball legends had the best interaction upon meeting each other for the first time that year.
In a video unearthed by Sung Min Kim of The Athletic and Baseball Prospectus, Martinez enters the room to meet Suzuki and asks him how he’s doing, to which Ichiro responds “la misma mierda,” which means “the same s—” in Martinez’s native Spanish.
That, of course, drew a hearty laugh from No. 45.
Through a translator, Martinez and Ichiro chatted about the future Hall of Fame outfielder’s love of pizza and burgers and how Martinez’s slide step kept him from stealing a base during their first encounter on the diamond. Ichiro told Martinez how happy he was to face the best pitcher in Major League Baseball and then got an autograph from the Boston Red Sox legend.
That was the only gift the powerful right-hander would give Ichiro during his career, as the Mariners outfielder went 4-for-19 with one RBI in his career against Martinez.
But he’ll always have that signed ball.
Thumbnail photo via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports