Thursday, July 21, 2011
The Mariners Record-Setter
By: Authentic Adam
As the Mariners fall further away from contention, there's one, huge, obvious, no-doubt-in-my-mind reason why. The Mariners have come down with some kind of sickness that prevents anyone not named Dustin Ackley from hitting, they have a career .281 BA guy hitting .184, a career .255 BA guy hitting .186, but that isn't even the worse part. The franchise's face for the past decade is hitting .260, yes, if you don't already know, Ichiro Suzuki has dropped off substantially from his career averages. Ichiro is on pace to get nowhere near his 200 hits and career .327 BA that have been the one thing that the Mariners have always been able to count on this past decade.
Even as it is looking more and more likely that age is catching up with Ichiro, his 10 year Major League career is nothing short of spectacular. Ichiro broke records that have been untouchable for almost 100 years with a style of playing that has never before been seen in Major League Baseball. The sad part is that it's easy to under appreciate Ichiro, I am not the only person who would rather see bombs launched out of the park over Ichiro's weakly hit infield singles, but that shouldn't take away from what Ichiro has been able to do in his career. Let's dive into Ichiro's Major League Career, specifically all the records he has tied/broken.
Batting Line: .350/.381/.457 with 242 hits, 8 HR, and 56 SB
-He set the Major League record for most hits by a rookie, he also had the most hits in a season by a player since 1930.
-He became only the second player in Major League history to win both the Rookie of the Year award and Most Valuable Player award in the same season
-He became the first player since Jackie Robinson in 1949 to lead the league in both BA and SB
-The Mariners tied the record for most wins in a season with 116, Ichiro played a huge role in the Mariners success
Batting Line: .321/.388/.425 with 208 hits, 8 HR, and 31 SB
-He became the first player on the Mariners to have back-to-back seasons with 200+ hits, only two other Mariners have ever reached 200+ hits (ARod twice, Boone once), He became only the 6th player to start off their career with two seasons of 200+ hits
Batting Line: .312/.352/.436 with 212 hits, 13 HR, and 34 SB
-He became only the 3rd player to start of their career with three seasons of 200+ hits.
Batting Line: .372/.414/.455 with 262 hits, 8 HR, and 36 SB
-He set the Major League record for most hits in a season with 262
-He set the Major League record for most hits in a players first four seasons in the Majors with 924, he also set the record for most hits over a four year span, but later broke his own record in 2007.
-He became the first player in the history of baseball to have 50 hits in 3 different months of the same season
Batting Line: .303/.350/.436 with 206 hits, 15 HR, and 33 SB
-No records set, although Ichiro set a career high in HR.
Batting Line: .322/.370/.416 with 224 hits, 9 HR, and 45 SB
-He set the record for most hits in a 6 year span with 1,354.
Batting Line: .351/.396/.431 with 238 hits, 6 HR, and 37 SB
-He set the AL record for most stolen bases without getting caught with 45 consecutive SB.
-He set the Mariners hitting streak record with 25 consecutive games with a hit, he would later break that streak in 2009.
Batting Line: .310/.361/.386 with 213 hits, 6 HR, and 43 SB
-He reaches a career milestone, totaling 3,000 hits in both Japan and the United States
Batting Line: .352/.386/.465 with 208 hits, 11 HR, and 26 SB
-He set the record for most consecutive seasons with 200+ hits at 9.
-He became the 2nd-fastest player to reach 2,000 Major League hits.
Batting Line: .315/.359/.394 with 214 hits, 6 HR, and 42 SB
-Tied Pete Rose for most seasons with 200+ hits in a career.
-Extended his record of consecutive seasons with 200+ hits.
Batting Line: .260/.306/.310 with 104 hits, 1 HR, and 23 SB (Current stats)
-Set the Mariners career hits record with his 2,248th hit.
-10 All-Star game appearances, 1 All-Star game MVP
-10 Gold Glove awards
-3 Silver Slugger awards
-7 seasons of leading MLB in hits
-2 seasons of leading MLB in BA
There is a common theme with Ichiro and the records he set. Hits, hits, hits, and more hits. He doesn't walk, he doesn't strike out, he just gets hits. Ichiro is one of the greatest hits guys in baseball history and would have given Pete Rose a run for his money if he came over to the US before he was 27 years old.
Ichiro is the first player to ever make a Hall of Fame career out of infield singles. Infield singles don't count as much as HR, but they're even more impressive in this case. There are plenty of players who can hit 40HR in a season and 500HR in a career (some more legal then others), but there is only one guy in the history of baseball with more than 250 infield hits, and that is Ichiro with 412. Ichiro has 164 more infield hits then the Luis Castillo in 2nd place. 164 hits would be considered a good season for almost every player.
While some Mariners fan don't like him because of his attitude, or his approach to the game, or the fact that he doesn't help out in the community, or even the 18M the Mariners are paying him, it still doesn't deny that Ichiro is a unique baseball player with Hall of Fame credentials. He's been a staple in the Mariners line up in a decade where there was barely anything else you could count on and until this year has earned his salary every year of his Major League career outside of 2005 (where he was 0.8M off).
All in all, Ichiro is struggling now in what is looking more and more like the twilight of his career, but don't let this season stand in the way of appreciating his remarkable achievements. Ichiro is still Ichiro, and I'll gladly go to the ball park to even catch glimpses of his Hall of Fame career.