Ichiro Suzuki became the 30th player in MLB history to collect 3,000 hits this afternoon when he tripled off Colorado Rockies reliever Chris Rusin in the seventh inning of this afternoon’s Marlins-Rockies games. Ichiro, not known for his power, just missed hitting it out of the park. Had he gone yard it would have been his first home run of the 2016 season.
But a hit is a hit. Ichiro was greeted at third base by his Miami Marlins teammates and coaching staff and was given a rousing standing ovation by Colorado fans who truly got a treat that probably should have been reserved for fans in Miami.
Of course, Ichiro spent the bulk of his big league career with the Seattle Mariners. After playing seven seasons in his native Japan, Ichiro made an immediate impact in Seattle winning the AL Rookie of the Year and AL MVP in 2001 for a Mariners team that tied a MLB record with 116 wins. He would collect 200 hits for 10 consecutive seasons, an unprecedented mark. In 2004, he set the single season record with 262 hits surpassing George Sisler who stroked 257 hits for the 1920 St. Louis Browns. He led the AL in hits seven times (including five in a row) and won two AL batting titles. Then there is his defense. Ichiro won 9 consecutive Gold Gloves for his outfield play.
My Dad has long been an Ichiro fan. He loves everything about him. His batting stance, his zen like mental approach. Dad often calls him Baseball’s Samurai. I can’t tell you how many times he told me he’d like to see him in a Yankees uniform. I told him it was a pipe dream. But in mid-2012, he became a Yankee in a mid-season trade. Not long after, Dad went to Yankee Stadium to see Ichiro play and every time he got up he shouted, “Samurai!!!” and even got a few people to join in with him.
The one thing Ichiro has never done is play in a World Series. Since his rookie season in 2001, he’s only seen post-season action one other time and that was in 2012 with the Yankees. But the Miami Marlins currently have the second NL Wild Card berth so there’s a chance. Ichiro turns 43 in October and I would be surprised if he played beyond this season.
If he does retire at the end of the 2016 season, World Series ring or no World Series ring, Ichiro will be a first ballot Hall of Famer in 2022 and is sure to be in a class by himself.
Notice to Readers: The American Spectator and Spectator World are marks used by independent publishing companies that are not affiliated in any way. If you are looking for The Spectator World please click on the following link: https://spectatorworld.com/.