Constantly bombarded with coverage of Seattle sports up here in Alaska, one can’t help but follow the Mariners every summer. We get all their games on TV and radio. The Mariners have a nice organization, stadium and fan base. They have a “good brand” here in the northwest, although the results on the field the past coupla years were dismal. Seattle’s “team for the ages” back in 2001 that won 116 games but fell short in the playoffs vs the Yankmees got old very quickly. Ironically, 2001 was the “rookie season” for their 27 year old Japanese sensation, Ichiro Suzuki. Now 33, “Ichee” is enjoying another great season, batting .362 with an OBP of .416 and 22 SBs.
When you take a step back and look at Ichee’s first 6 1/2 years in MLB, it’s pretty damn amazing … certainly on a Hall of Fame pace if he can stay healthy and play another 6-7 years. So in a fairly brief span, he’s amassed a .333 career BA, 1,466 hits, 257 stolen bases, soon to be 7 All-Star appearances and … oh yeah … he’s an awesome outfielder with a bazooka arm and a few gold gloves. What team wouldn’t want a lead-off hitter like this??? He’s averaging over 225 hits and 111 runs scored per season!!! By comparison, here’s what other legendary players averaged: Pete Rose .303 BA, ~178 hits and ~90 runs scored per season. Ty Cobb .367 BA, ~183 hits and ~98 RS per season. Tony Gwynn .338 BA, ~165 hits and ~73 RS per season. Ricky Henderson .279 BA, ~128 hits and ~96 RS per season. (Stats were unprofessionally adjusted for partial seasons). But what a “BASEBALL PLAYER” this guy is!!! The name of the game is to get on base and produce runs; and of course defense counts as well. Who is more valuable than Ichee?!?!?
Granted, Suzuki’s stats probably reflect a 7 year period during the prime of his career. Undoubtedly, his legs and hand speed will slow down as he approaches his mid-late 30’s, although you wouldn’t know it by the season he’s enjoying now. This guy keeps himself in great shape, so I can see him being very effective into his early 40’s. Anyway, keep an eye on him … he should be passing the 3,000 hit mark in 2014. I know the Mariners are a mystery to everyone west of Denver, so I see it as my responsibility to enlighten BoSox Nation and others tucked away on the right coast. By the way, haven’t the Saux dropped their last two in Seattle? This was an Ichee I had to scratchee 🙂