Thursday, September 18, 2008

Congratulations, Ichiro

Image credit: McClatchy, reduced by Cujo359

There haven't been very many bright spots in the Seattle Mariners' season this year. One of the few occurred yesterday:

KANSAS CITY. Mo. — Ichiro's 200th hit this season came in fitting fashion Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium. He beat out a ground ball to Royals shortstop Mike Aviles in the top of the eighth inning.

Ichiro makes 200th hit in 5-2 loss to Royals

What's so special about this? It's because it's the eighth time in a row that he's accomplished this feat. It's the first time this has happened in what is usually thought of as the modern baseball era:

[Seattle manager Jim Riggelman said:] "When you are talking about Ichiro you are talking about one of the greatest players in the game. To get 200 hits eight years in a row is unheard of."

Indeed. Eight straight seasons with 200 hits tied a major-league record with Wee Willie Keeler, who did it from 1894 to 1901.

Ichiro makes 200th hit in 5-2 loss to Royals

The game has changed considerably since Keeler played. The equipment is much better, as are the fielders and pitchers. Getting 200 hits a season is more of an accomplishment now than it was back then, in many ways.

Fittingly, this occurred during another losing effort for the Mariners. If they play really well the rest of the way, the Mariners might eke out sixty wins this season.

Congratulations, Ichiro. Hopefully, your next 200 hit season will get you into the World Series.

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