Suzuki with Washington Nationals in 2019
|Washington Nationals – No. 28|
|Born: October 4, 1983|
|June 12, 2007, for the Oakland Athletics|
|MLB statistics |
(through 2019 season)
|Runs batted in||682|
|Career highlights and awards|
Kurtis Kiyoshi Suzuki (born October 4, 1983) is an American professional baseball catcher for the Washington Nationals of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for the Oakland Athletics, Minnesota Twins, and Atlanta Braves.
Prior to playing professionally, Suzuki attended Cal State Fullerton and won the Johnny Bench Award and Brooks Wallace Award. The Athletics drafted Suzuki in the second round of the 2004 MLB draft. He made his MLB debut in 2007. In 2019, Suzuki caught for the Nationals as they won the World Series. He has now won both the College World Series and MLB World Series.
Suzuki was born to Warren and Kathleen Suzuki in Wailuku, Hawaii and attended Henry Perrine Baldwin High School from which he graduated in 2001. Suzuki was mentored as a youth by Hawaiian MLB scout Walter Isamu Komatsubara. He managed a .328 batting average as a senior at Baldwin.
Suzuki attended California State University, Fullerton, where he played college baseball for the Cal State Fullerton Titans baseball team. CSUF appeared in the 2003 College World Series and captured the 2004 College World Series championship, thanks to Suzuki's two-out RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning, giving the Titans a 3-2 win over the Texas Longhorns.
That year, he won the Johnny Bench Award as the country's top collegiate catcher. He was also selected All-American by two publications, Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball. He was also the recipient of the first-ever Brooks Wallace Award.
Draft and minor leagues
The Athletics drafted Suzuki in the second round of the 2004 Major League Baseball draft and assigned him to the Single-A Short Season Vancouver Canadians, where he batted .297 and committed just one error in 46 games.
His first full season of professional baseball came in 2005, with Single-A team the Stockton Ports. Playing in 114 games, Suzuki put up a .277 average, 12 home runs, 65 RBIs and a .440 slugging percentage.
Suzuki joined the major league club on June 9, 2007, after rarely used catcher Adam Melhuse was traded to the Texas Rangers and made his debut three days later as a pinch hitter in a game against the Houston Astros.
He served as backup to veteran Jason Kendall until Kendall was traded to the Chicago Cubs on July 16, making Suzuki the Athletics everyday catcher. On July 17, 2007, pitcher Shane Komine got into a game in the eighth inning against the Texas Rangers with Suzuki doing the catching. This marked the first time in major league baseball history that there was a battery where both players were from Hawaii.
For the 2008 season, Suzuki was the starting catcher while Rob Bowen served as backup. In the first 20 regular season games, Suzuki started 18. He ended the season with a .279 batting average in 148 games.
During the 2009 season, Suzuki had a career-high 15 home runs and 88 RBIs, and batted .274 in 147 games. Suzuki led the A's in RBIs, and became only the second catcher in the franchise's history to do so. He also led the team in hits (156), doubles (37) and total bases (240), and was second in home runs and runs scored behind teammate Jack Cust.
On July 23, 2010, Suzuki signed a four-year extension with the Oakland Athletics, estimated to be worth $16.25 million. At the end of the 2010 season, Suzuki ended with a .242 average with 13 home runs and 71 RBIs. The following season, he hit .237 with 14 home runs and 44 RBIs.
Return to Oakland
Suzuki was named to the 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, finishing up the game with his Twins battery-mate, Glen Perkins. He agreed to a two-year contract extension with the team on July 31, 2014. In his first season with Minnesota, he hit a career-high .288 with 3 home runs and 61 RBIs. The following season he hit .240 with 5 home runs and 50 RBIs. In 2016, he hit .258 with 8 home runs but had his season shortened due to injury.
On January 30, 2017, Suzuki signed a one-year contract for $1.5 million with the Atlanta Braves. He set a career high in home runs that season, hitting 19 in 276 at-bats while platooning with Tyler Flowers. On September 23, 2017, Suzuki and the Braves agreed to a one-year extension worth $3.5 million. In 2018 he batted .271/.332/.444 with 12 home runs and 50 RBIs in 347 at bats.
Washington Nationals (second stint)
On November 20, 2018, the Washington Nationals officially announced that they had signed Suzuki to a two-year contract worth $10 million. In 2019 he batted .264/.324/.486 with 17 home runs and 63 RBIs in 280 at bats.
On October 23, 2019, Suzuki became the first Hawaii-born player to hit a home run in the World Series which he did in Game 2.  A hip flexor strain scratched him from the remaining games of the series but the Nationals were able to win it in 7 games, giving them their first championship in franchise history. 
He married his wife Renee Marie Suzuki (née Vignery) in January 2007. They met at CSUF, where she was a fellow Titan who played volleyball. They have three children, a daughter born in April 2011 and sons born in November 2013 and July 2016. Suzuki took a brief paternity leave after his daughter's birth in 2011.
In 2012, Suzuki and his wife Renee founded the Kurt Suzuki Family Foundation, a charitable nonprofit dedicated to supporting the scientific research of chronic illnesses and kidney diseases. He and his wife (along with Orlando and Katie Cabrera) have also helped out a former Titan catcher Jon Wilhite, who was severely injured in the car crash that killed Nick Adenhart.
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- Lewis, Ferd (July 29, 2010). "'Mr. Komatsubara' would have loved to see Suzuki get his due". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
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- Sherrington, Kevin (October 24, 2004). "Memories get refreshed: New college award honors shortstop no one forgot". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved April 2, 2013.(subscription required)
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- Nationals Press Release (August 3, 2012). "Nationals acquire catcher Kurt Suzuki from Athletics". MLB.com.
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- Bollinger, Rhett (December 2013). "Twins make deals with Suzuki, Pelfrey official". MLB.com. Retrieved April 12, 2016.
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- Bollinger, Rhett (July 31, 2014). "Twins sign Suzuki to two-year contract extension". MLB.com. Retrieved April 12, 2016.
- Bowman, Mark (January 30, 2017). "Braves make Suzuki signing official". MLB.com. Retrieved January 31, 2017.
- Bowman, Mark (September 21, 2017). "Surprising Suzuki sets career high in homers". MLB.com. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
- "Kurt Suzuki". ESPN. November 5, 2017. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
- Bowman, Mark (September 23, 2017). "Braves, Suzuki agree to 1-year contract". MLB.com. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
- "Kurt Suzuki Stats". Baseball Reference.
- "Suzuki returns to Nationals on 2-year deal". MLB.com.
- "Ailing Kurt Suzuki delivers big blast as Nationals take 2-0 World Series lead". Daily Bulletin.
- "Washington Nationals win 2019 World Series". MLB. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
- Caple, Jim (April 22, 2011). "The Ichiro-Matsui relationship". ESPN.com. Retrieved April 12, 2016.
- "From Maui to the Majors | News, Sports, Jobs - Maui News". www.mauinews.com. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
- "Kurt Suzuki back after birth of daughter". ESPN.com. April 29, 2011. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
- Bill Shaikin (July 19, 2009). "Jon Wilhite doesn't take life for granted". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
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