Ichiro’s greatness, hit by hit by hit

Yes, here at acme eclectic, we actually do recognize the fact that it is football season, though a recent scarcity of football-related posts hardly reflects it. 

But here’s the deal.  The opening of the season is like walking into an all-you-can-eat buffet on an empty stomach.  And, even with today’s first NFL Sunday of the season, there’s good reason to start digesting some of it before commenting on how the Swedish meatballs compare to the stir-fry or deciding which of 25 different desserts to try. 

There is plenty of time to write about football.  And plenty of other notable non-football items to discuss, including today’s epic milestone reached by the incomparable Ichiro Suzuki.

Having just passed the 2,000 hit milestone within the week, Ichiro made history today by becoming the first player in Major League history to have nine consecutive 200-hit seasons, adding stature to the record by accomplishing the feat in the first nine seasons of his major league career with the Seattle Mariners (after nine years of professional ball in Japan).

MLB.com continues to be the go-to site for tracking history-making moments (in sharp contrast to the often sub-standard attempts made by other leagues on their websites), and Ichiro’s record is no exception.  MLB has created a “Chasing History” section dedicated to Ichiro which provides a great overview, including features, interviews, video, and a relevant statistical view of the 200-hit record.

Ichiro

When Ichiro began his career here, American baseball fans had no idea about this ballplayer with the rock-star status in his native Japan and, though baseball insiders everywhere believed that he could make it in MLB, nobody could have predicted the Hall of Fame career that he has put together during his time in the Pacific Northwest.

In an era of unprecedented long-ball prowess, Ichiro has undoubtedly crafted the greatest offensive career of anyone this decade who did not rely on power – though his 82 career home runs are nothing to dismiss, either.  And, for my money, his all-around game makes him perhaps the most exciting player to spend your hard-earned money on to see perfect his craft at the ballpark.

I can only imagine that those who see him every day are alternately amazed and, yet naturally, immune to experiencing Ichiro’s greatness.  Witnessing his career unfold day after day can make it hard to see the bigger picture of the totality of what he has been able to accomplish.

That’s why it is so refreshing to read Larry Stone’s commentary today in The Seattle Times.  With the proper perspective on the “major-league institution, fast becoming a legend” who wears that Mariners uniform every day, Stone lays out exactly what makes Ichiro so special. 

Despite beginning his MLB career at the age of 27, Ichiro is “indisputably, a hit machine, of a vintage that will itself stand the test of time”.

Be hopeful that Ichiro, 36 years old next month, can maintain his health to make a run at the 3,000 hit club, an exclusive group of merely 27 of the best hitters to play the game.  Joining that group would put Ichiro squarely in the class of baseball royalty.  Not that his destiny is anywhere short of the Hall of Fame, even if he chose to retire today.

And, by all means, be sure to see Ichiro for yourself before he chooses to sail the seas back to his homeland, whenever that may be.  He is simply a one-of-a-kind ballplayer whose career is not likely to be replicated again during any of our lifetimes.

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~ by acm213 on September 13, 2009.

One Response to “Ichiro’s greatness, hit by hit by hit”

  1. This achievement isn’t getting enough recognition or praise. 9 straight seasons! That mean’s you have to stay healthy for the majority of 9 seasons, while constantly hitting at the highest of levels. I love Ichiro as a professional, as a half-asian american myself, and for what he’s done for the game.

    His share price soared over +24% on the MLB Market the day after he set the record:

    Ichiro Suzuki

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