Friday, August 28, 2009
Seattle Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki is out with a calf injury. Hopefully, he'll come back healthy this season; he's only 11 hits from his 2,000th MLB hit. Ichiro is in his 9th MLB season; nobody has ever gotten 2,000 hits in his first nine seasons. Nobody has ever gotten 2,000 hits in any nine-season stretch.
He also has 184 hits this season; if he reaches 200, it'll be the ninth time in nine years that he's done so, a record in the Major Leagues.
Ichiro, 35, is batting .359 on the season and .333 for his MLB career. He played in Japan's Pacific League for nine years before coming to Seattle, hitting .353 and piling up 1,278 hits, including a Japanese single-season record 210 hits in 1994.
He's on pace for 231 hits this season, which would break the record of 227 hits by a 35 year-old, held by Sam Rice and Nat Lajoie.
He has batted over .300 in every one of his nine MLB seasons, including .372 in 2004, when he broke the MLB record for hits in a season with 262. In his nine seasons, he's led the league in hits 6 times and in batting average two times.
Wait, here's more. He led the league in stolen bases in 2001, and that year was named the American League MVP and the American League Rookie of the Year. He was the MVP of the 2007 All-Star game. He was won a gold glove as an outfielder in each of his first eight seasons. He's been in the All-Star game in each of his nine seasons. He currently has the highest batting average among active players.
Who knows what kind of numbers he'd have if he'd spent his entire career playing in MLB. Ichiro is a legendary player, already one of the all-time greats.
Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan wrote a nice piece about Ichiro in "Ichiro defies critics and odds," and talks about Ichiro's chances of reaching the 4,000 hit mark (Pete Rose territory!).
For more on Ichiro Suzuki, check out this Wikipedia article.