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The singularity of Ichiro, glimpsed in 27 stats

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There is only one Ichiro. And it’s going to stay that way.

Blue Jays v Mariners Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Ichiro is a legend. He is a pioneer. He’s a king. He’s style. He’s grace. He’s discreetly apportioned batting-practice power. He’s intent. He’s a mood.

For 27 professional seasons in the United States and Japan, he was inevitable and improvisational. He played professional baseball — and hit and caught and hit and threw and hit and sometimes even pitched baseballs — with an excellence that endured over time and across continents.

He might be done. But, also, he might not. Because Ichiro is inscrutable even in the spotlight.

No, Ichiro can’t be fully comprehended by looking at his career statistics. But, damn those numbers are impressive. So let’s look back on just some of the stats and numbers that stand out from an iconic career:

27

Ichiro made his MLB debut on April 2, 2001 at age 27. He got two hits in his first game.


9

Ichiro’s Baseball America ranking before the 2001 season was No. 9.


162

A pioneer as a position player coming over from Japan, doubters didn’t think Ichiro could withstand the physical toll of the 162-game MLB season due to his slight frame.

18

Ichiro has played 18 MLB seasons, so far.

27

Ichiro received 27 first-place votes (of a possible 28) to be named the American League’s rookie of the year in 2001. Pitcher CC Sabathia received the only other first-place vote.

11

Ichiro received 11 first-place votes received in to also be named the American League’s Most Valuable Player in his rookie year.

3,089

Ichiro notched the 22nd-most career MLB hits.

262

Ichiro established a new MLB single-season record with 262 hits in 2004. The previous record of 257 had stood since 1920.

.311

Ichiro’s career MLB batting average is .311.

385

Number of at-bats Ichiro would need to go hitless in to drop his career MLB average below .300.

18

In his mound debut, Ichiro threw 18 pitches in relief for the Miami Marlins on Oct. 4, 2015.

11

Ichiro threw 11 strikes in his inning of work. He surrendered one run on two hits without issuing a walk.

509

Ichiro racked up 509 career MLB stolen bases, including a league-leading 56 as a rookie.

7

There have only been seven MLB players with 3,000 hits and 500 stolen bases: Ichiro, Rickey Henderson, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Eddie Collins, Paul Molitor, and Lou Brock. The other six are in the Hall of Fame.

10

Ichiro won 10 Gold Glove Awards playing outfield for the Seattle Mariners.

123

Ichiro has 123 career MLB outfield assists, including this introductory laser beam in his first week with the Mariners. That’s only three fewer than noted cannon-arm haver Vladimir Guerrero.

10

Ichiro put up 10 consecutive seasons with 200+ hits, from 2001-2010. No other player in MLB history has 10 straight seasons with 200+ hits. Only Pete Rose has 10 seasons during an entire career with 200+ hits.

18

Ichiro made his professional debut at age 18 with the Orix BlueWave in Japan. This was in 1992.


1,278

Ichiro has 1,278 career NPB hits, including 210 in just 130 games in 1994.

7

After becoming a full-time player in 1994, Ichiro led the Pacific League in Japan in batting for seven seasons.

.353

Playing seven full seasons — winning a batting title in each — and parts of two other seasons, Ichiro finished his career in Japan with a .353 batting average.

.600

Ichiro played for Japan in the World Baseball Classic in 2006 and 2009. Japan won the tournament both times. Ichiro went for 6 for 10 in championship games.


2

Ichiro won two American League batting titles: 2001 and 2004.

44

Ichiro was 44 years old when he made this catch.

4,367

Accounting for his seasons in Japan and the United States, Ichiro has 4,367 career professional hits.


0

There are no players with more top-tier professional hits than Ichiro. He is the hit king.


1

Ichiro ranks first in Mariners history in batting average, hits, triples, and stolen bases,