He may not have been the most powerful hitter of his era, and probably wasn’t the most productive if we use advanced stats.
After nine highly successful seasons in Japan, he moved to the United States and signed with the Mariners, starting an incredible MLB career.
In 19 MLB seasons, Ichiro slashed .311/.355/.402 with 117 home runs and 509 stolen bases, scoring a whopping 1,420 runs.
He had 3,089 hits at the MLB level, and even though he was a shell of himself in his later years, nobody can take that away from him.
From 2001 to 2010, though, he was the best contact hitter in baseball.
Ichiro 𝙖𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙖𝙜𝙚𝙙 224 hits per season from 2001 to 2010. No other batter had 224 hits in any one of those seasons.
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) February 17, 2022
He was a true artist with the bat, capable of getting base hits with pitches in any part of the zone.
If we combine his 1,278 hits in Japan with the 3,089 he had in America, he would have 4,367 over his 28-year career.
That would make him the king of the hit in the eyes of many, besting Pete Rose‘s 4,256.
Mariners fans surely remember Ichiro with a smile on their faces, and he will likely be a first-ballot Hall of Famer in a few years when he is eligible.
One Of The Most Impressive Seasons In Modern History
The most impressive year of his excellent career is, without a doubt, 2001.
It was his debut season in the States, too.
That year, he hit .350/.381/.457 with eight home runs, 56 stolen bases, and 127 runs scored.
He won just about every award there was to win: AL Rookie of the Year, AL MVP, All-Star Game, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, and the batting and stolen bases crowns.
It was a truly dominant display: not with power, not with walks, but with a pure ability to see the ball, hit the ball.
Ichiro had an unparalleled career, and he should be celebrated.