It seemed like the most cruel of timings.
In 2012, Ichiro Suzuki is traded to the New York Yankees, gets a Yankees card in Topps Update, and in the offseason signs a two year deal to remain in New York. Ichiro is no longer the perennial all-star, lineup staple that he was in the mid-2000s, but he's still a relevant name, and a name that people still love pulling in packs.
Then, tragedy strikes. Ichiro's deal with Topps expires, and he doesn't re-sign with them. Which means Ichiro's only baseball cards in 2013 and 2014 will be unlicensed, non-logo Panini cards. Meaning for two years, the only cards of one of my favorite players on MY TEAM were crappy PS jobs in Donruss, Pinnacle and Prizm sets.
And, of course, the following year, as he's joined the Marlins, Topps MIRACULOUSLY re-signs with him, meaning the only two years they couldn't make cards of him were his Yankees years. That...hurt.
So, one of the priorities of this project was to restore these lost years of Ichiro's career to Topps canon. Cause at the very least, I would have loved to see him.
So, 2013: 150 games, being phased into more of a bench presence than a starter though still starts a ton of games. Hits .262 with 136 hits, 20 steals and 35 RBIs. He's beginning to separate from his prime years, but he's still helpful in numerous places.
While these aren't prime years for Ichiro, they're still solid enough years for the Yankees, and they're enough to get the Marlins to bring him on for 3 years as a bench-outfield supporter. I just wished Topps would acknowledge them every now and then.