Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Ichiro: The Hit Machine

Like the great Jack Buck once said
“I cannot believe what I have just
Ichiro Susuki is the best leadoff
hitter I have ever seen. And I
covered Rickey Henderson’s
career since he was a rookie
for the Oakland A’S in 1979
throught most of his glory
years. But if a leadoff hitter
job is to get on base, Ichiro
does it better than anybody

By Amaury Pi-Gonzalez
SeattleIchiro just became the first
man ever in Major League
Baseball to hit 200 or more
hits in his first four seasons.

But that is not all ! No, for
Ichiro there is no limit as he
gets closer and closer to
the Major League record
of 257 hits by St Louis Browns
George Sisler.

Lou Piniella told me
recently during his Tampa
Bay team visit to Safeco
Field: “Si alguien puede
batear .400 hoy en dia,
ese hombre es Ichiro”
(If anybody can hit .400
these days, that man
would be Ichiro)
Yes, Lou speaks
Spanish. Born in Tampa
of Spanish parent from

Ichiro has 50
or more hits in
each of the last
3 months, June,July
and August.
(a new MLB record)
For the great Japanese
player here in Seattle there
is no distraction, he is like
a well oil hitting machine.
The Mariners have the greatest
Japanese influence among all
Major League teams, not
only because Ichiro plays
here and Shigetoshi Hasegawa
comes out of the bullpen very
often but also because the
principal owner of this
franchise is a Japanese man
that also runs Nintendo Company.
A businessman that has
never seen the team he
owns in person. The Japanese
Press has a great presence
in the Emerald City.

Ichiro’s 200th hit of 2004 came
against Kansas City Jeremy
Affelt in the ninth inning
and it was a Homerun.

I have been watching baseball
since my father Joaquin used
to take me to the Estadio de
El Cerro in Havana,Cuba in
the early 50’s and I have
never seen anybody hitting
leadoff like Ichiro Susuki.
He swings and already has
three steps into first base.
Sometimes it looks like he
is swinging and running at
the same time !

Ichiro rarely speaks, he
has an interpreter and in
certain ocasions is called
into duty, like the night
when he got his 200th
hit of the season,
here at Safeco Field.
But overall Ichiro talks
very little.

Ichiro just stole his 30th
base of the season and
is also getting closer and
closer to the stolen base
record held here in Seattle
by my broadcast partner
and ex secondbaseman
Julio(The Cruzer)Cruz
of 390 steals in a career.
(The M’S record)

Ichiro is also the only
man in MLB with 4
straight 200 plus seasons
and 30 plus stolen bases.

It is said that a leadoff
hitter is to “make the
pitcher work”but
Ichiro breaks that
mold also. He is an
extremely agressive
hitter swinging often
after the first pitch,but
how can you double
guess a man that is
hitting .360 in late
August and plays
everygame, including
both ends of the
doubleheader today
in which his team
swept the Royals.

If you think getting
200 hits in a season is
easy, think of this:
Roberto Alomar,
arguably the best
defensive secondbaseman
in histoy and a guy with
over 2,000 hits in his
career has never finish
a season with 200 or
more hits.

Aside from having one
of the best arms in
baseball and making
tough plays look easy
in rightfield, Ichiro is
the consumate profesional.
Very rarely you will see
him arguing a call with
an umpire. When you
walk into the Mariners
dressing room sometimes
you don’t even know he
is there. And If you
see him in the streets
with civilian clothes you
might mistake him for
one of those 18 year
old kids in the X-Treme
games riding a

Sayonara !


1 Anonymous { 08.31.04 at 2:13 am }

With all do respect, the article about Ichiro is probably the most rediculous articles I have ever read.

The thesis of the article is “Ichiro Susuki is the best leadoff hitter I have ever seen.”

The author comments that “I covered Rickey Henderson’s career since he was a rookie for the Oakland A’S in 1979 throught most of his glory years.”

The author then states “But if a leadoff hitter job is to get on base, Ichiro does it better than anybody else.” The implication is that the claim that Ichiro is the best leadoff hitter is supported by the claim that Ichiro gets on base more than anyone else.

Well, hmmm lets explore the FACTS. Rickey Henderson career OBP is .401. Ichiro’s career OBP is .381. A NOTICABLE difference. Add to it that Rickey’s stats include when he was in his early 20’s and early 40’s contrasted with Ichiro’s stats which were comprised of only time spent in his prime.

If getting on base is the litmus test, as the author stated, than ICHIRO IS CLEARLY INFERIOR TO RICKEY.

When Rickey won the MVP award, his OBP was .439. When Ichiro won the MVP award, his OBP was .382.

If you think Ichiro is a better lead off hitter, you are entitled to your opinion. Please don’t cite “getting on base” as support for his superiority when he is clearly and unquestionably inferior at getting on base.

-Dan Turner

2 Anonymous { 09.01.04 at 11:40 am }

Nice top hear your opinion, I respect
it. I am just telling you that what I
have seen as a pure leadoff hitter,
Ichiro is the best I have ever seen.
I have seen Ichiro for the past
2 seasons in person in Seattle.
Amaury Pi-González

3 Anonymous { 09.02.04 at 1:12 pm }

I just read your piece on Ichiro and the comments
about Rickey. In my mind Rickey was the best in his prime. The leadoff hitter leads off to start the game and may hit 2nd -. 3rd or 4th later in the game. To
quote obp is not quite correct. Rickey could wreck a pitcher with a homerun or walk steal second. He
was awesome. I view Ichiro as a great ball player
that has 4 great tools. He can hit, run, field and has
a cannon for an arm and has occasional power.
I think that if I had a fantasy team Rickey would
leadoff and Ichiro bat second.
Great piece
Jerry F

4 Anonymous { 11.27.05 at 8:58 am }


5 Anonymous { 12.06.05 at 6:28 pm }


6 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:14 pm }

7 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:51 pm }

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