Thursday, September 23, 2010
Ichiro Suzuki sets 200-hit milestone
ESPN.com news services
TORONTO -- Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki became the first player with 10 straight 200-hit seasons Thursday, breaking his record with a single to center in the fifth inning of the Mariners' game against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Suzuki, whose 200 hits are the most in the majors, closed in on the mark with a two-out double to left off Blue Jays right-hander Shawn Hill in the third.
He wasted no time in setting the record, lining a single up the middle on the first pitch he saw from Hill in the fifth.
His teammates came to the top step of the dugout to applaud and Suzuki tipped his cap as the crowd gave him a standing ovation.
"After I accomplished 200 hits and I looked to the dugout, everyone was celebrating, everyone was very happy. They were showing congratulatory feelings," Suzuki said through a translator. "That's when I finally felt I could express my feelings in a good way and say I'm happy for what I've achieved."
Suzuki surpassed Willie Keeler with his ninth consecutive 200-hit season last year. Keeler's streak ran from 1894 to 1901.
Suzuki now has more 200-hit seasons than any player in AL history, breaking the record he shared with Detroit's Ty Cobb. Pete Rose is the only other player to record 10 seasons with 200 or more hits.
"I've never actually seen him play with eyes and I've never met him before," he said through a translator before adding, in English, "I don't care."
Ichiro, whose career high in home runs is 15, was asked whether he could imagine hitting 50 homers.
"I don't know about 50 home runs, maybe 50 saves," he joked.
Suzuki has led the majors in hits in each of the past four seasons, and six times in his 10-year career.
He closed in on the mark with his first four-hit game of the season in Tuesday's series opener, then went 1 for 5 with a single Wednesday.
The Blue Jays won 1-0.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.