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Ichiro with 260 hits, Writes First New Chapter in 84 Years

Ichiro with 260 hits, Writes First New Chapter in 84 Years

Posted October. 03, 2004 22:10,   


“It was the best moment of my life.”

Japan’s "Baseball talent" Suzuki Ichiro (31,•Seattle Mariners) has leapfrogged 84 years of outdated records of “most hits in a season” and stepped into the 260-hit peak.

In the MLB match-up between the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners in Safesco Field, Ichiro recorded 3 hits on 4 at-bat in the match and notched his 259th hit to break George Sisler (St. Louis Browns) 257 hits marked in 1920. On the 3rd against Texas, Ichiro added a single (1 hit on 5 at-bat) and marked his 260 hit of the season.

Ichiro’s crowning moment was when he created a new world record with 258 hits in the 3rd inning on the 2nd. Amidst a fiery release of fireworks, team members rushed to 1st base to congratulate him before Ichiro himself stepped up to the stands to give a polite bow to 81-year-old Francis Sisler, daughter of George Sisler.

The United States Baseball Hall of Fame is to display the bat and spike Ichiro used to make the new record starting next month in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

What are the secrets of the "Little Giant" who at 178cm, 78kg standing has exerted such a major influence in the MLB after conquering the Japanese league?

▽The fastest Runner = The time it takes Ichiro to step on the 1st base after the hit is 3.7seconds (measured by the Mariners). It calculates to running 7.33m each second for the total 27m to the base. The amazing 3.7 seconds is impressive time even for an infielder to throw to 1st base as soon as he scoops up the ball. Actually, from the 260 hits Ichiro had made, 57 hits, or 22 percent, are infield singles. Atlanta shortstop Rafael Furcal and Florida Marlins outfielder Juan Pierre have comparable speeds.

▽Unique player= Ichiro is the only players in the league with his first name on the back of his jersey. The name "Ichoro" already symbolizes his own franchise.

▽A player with talented batting sense= In Japan, Ichiro was famous for his clock bob type batting style in which a batter lifts his right leg up high and giving a tug. In the major league, he switched to a concise batting stance to adapt to the league’s fast balls. Ichiro subsequently pulled his swing speed up to 155km, which is superior in the league. Leveraging an advantage of swift feet, he hits the ball with a slight cut to make an infield ball and send a grounder.

Ichiro`s teammate pitcher Jamie Moyer wastes no time in praising Ichiro. "He can hit any course, any style of pitches,” says Moyer. “I`ve never seen a batter with such perfect eye-hand coordination.”

Sang-Soo Kim ssoo@donga.com