America is overflowing with pushy Little League fathers telling their sons to put their weight on the back leg, hang in there on a fastball and pull the ball, dammit! Ichiro's father (pictured at right) was like that, only more so.

Most proud parents are content with a few trophies and framed photos documenting their children's athletic achievements. Nobuyuki Suzuki operates the four-story Ichiro Exhibition Room next door to his home in Nagoya. He charges about $8.50 admission.

"When Ichiro was a child, his father told Ichiro's mother, 'He is going to be a great athlete. We must keep everything.' "

More than 2,000 items are artfully arranged through the museum, including Ichiro's schoolboy satchels, his youth league scorecards, his old Star Wars model spaceships and a mannequin of a 12-year-old Ichiro working an abacus at his desk. The museum is so complete that not only are his shoes here, so is his shoe polish. Peering into the meticulously maintained display cases -- wait, is that really Ichiro's retainer from junior high? -- two thoughts spring to mind. One, whether or not Ichiro ever reaches Cooperstown, Nobuyuki definitely ought to wind up there as the Hall's curator. And two, the old man began planning this museum long, long ago.

"When Ichiro was a child," a museum manager explained during a visit several years ago, "his father told Ichiro's mother, 'He is going to be a great athlete. We must keep everything.'"

If that doesn't give you an appreciation for the pressure under which Ichiro has always played, then check out the book for sale by the register. It's by Nobuyuki and it's titled, "My Son, Ichiro."

Imagine Kevin Costner's father asking him to not only play catch on a sunny day in that Iowa cornfield, but to play catch and take b.p. (200 swings) and field grounders and chase fly balls several hours every afternoon 360 days a year no matter the weather. "It bordered on hazing," Ichiro told author Robert Whiting in his book, "The Meaning of Ichiro." [+]