2017-09-14 / Sports

Ichiro– the name says it all performer

LAMAR GARRARDbaseball historian

“I love this guy. He is cool. He’s got a cool hairstyle, has cool clothes and drives a cool car. Be- sides, anybody that goes by one name has got to be cool. Man, he’s Ichiro. That says it all, doesn’t it?” – Dusty Baker, former big leaguer and current Washington Nationals manager

When a major league baseball player is known throughout the world by his first name and his the player has achieved iconic status. That can be said of the Miami Marlins outfielder and exciting superstar, Ichiro Suzuki. The native of Japan came on the scene in major league baseball as a 27-year-old rookie with the Seattle Mariners. It did not take long to recognize that the 2001 American League Rookie of The Year was destined for big things.

Suzuki was late getting to the majors as he started in pro ball in Japan at age 18 and played there for nine seasons. Coming to America to play baseball was a dream of his since he was a youngster playing with his dad every afternoon in his backyard.

Ichiro made a big entrance by setting a new major league record of 242 hits, the most ever in a season for a rookie. He also was the American League MVP.

This past weekend, I got to watch him on TV as the Marlins were playing the Braves . He is an amazing athlete to watch. Although soon to be 44 years old, he plays like he is ageless. His slim build is deceiving as he is listed at 5’11 and 175 lbs but he looks more like 5’9 and maybe 160. He’s in excellent physical condition and his throw- ing arm is still good. He held an Atlanta runner to the base on one

Ichiro is the ultimate baseball and is a pleasure to watch. He is serious about every facet of his game. He can run, hit, throw, and steal a base with the best of them, although at 44 you know he is slowing down. what a great career he has had with three teams, the Mariners, Yankees, and now the Marlins. His lifetime batting average is .312 with 3,073 base hits. Only 31 players in history have 3,000 or more hits! The 10 time All-Star and two-time major league batting champion had 10 consecutive years with 200 hits or more. He has stolen 508 bases while committing only 123 errors in 17 seasons. The left-handed season and .372, .351 and .352 in later years. In 2004 he recorded an incredible 262 hits. One year he stole 45 bases in a row without being thrown out. Ty Cobb would love him for that.

Five years after he decides to re- tire, the Baseball Hall of Fame will be inducting one of the best ever into it’s hallowed halls. He deserves to go in with a 100% unanimous vote.

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