When Ichiro Suzuki was traded from the Mariners to the Yankees, he went with uniform #31 instead of #51. I understand the reasoning behind not selecting #51 (Bernie Williams' number, which I guess lends credence to the Yankees perhaps retiring it at some point), but is there any specified reason he chose #31?

1 Answer 1


Ichiro chose No #31 without actual reason, he had a reason why not choosing no #51.

Since his days in Japan with the Orix Blue Wave, Ichiro has worn No #51. But with that number unofficially retired by the Yankees in honor of Bernie Williams, Ichiro knew that he’d need a new number.

Ichiro share his thoughts in interview:

“Of course No. 51 is a special number to me, but when I think about what 51 means to the Yankees, it’s hard for me to ask for that number,” he said. “I’d like to have a new number and then make that my own.”

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    My guess is that we will not get a reason. Ichiro is a pretty private dude.
    – wax eagle
    Jul 25, 2012 at 14:10
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    Regarding the players comment: it's a fantastic perspective and insightful comment, very respectful of the team and the fans. A similar quote came from Man Utd's new transfer Shinji Kagawa, when asked if he'd like to play with number 7 or some other "star" number replied 'he'd prefer not to be seen as someone else's replacement, so he would like to start with a completely irrelevant/uncommon number and make it his own'. I wonder if it's a Japanese expression.
    – posdef
    Jul 25, 2012 at 18:12
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    As an aside, #18 for the Denver Broncos was retired in honor of Frank Tripucka. However, Tripucka let Peyton Manning wear his retired number.
    – user527
    Jul 30, 2012 at 14:11
  • Great information guys!
    – Dor Cohen
    Jul 30, 2012 at 14:29
  • 51 is also retired by the diamondbacks I believe. May 10, 2023 at 19:14

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