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David Brown

Ichiro? 'Wee Chiro' tops Keeler with 9th straight 200-hit season

David Brown
Big League Stew

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Ichiro Suzuki(notes) doesn't really have a nickname — "Ichiro" apparently will do, thank you — but if he's looking for one, how about "Mr. 200"?

No player in major league history has racked up more consecutive 200-hit seasons than Ichiro, whose infield single against the Texas Rangers in the second inning Sunday night made it a clean nine for nine.

He's once ... twice ... nine times a two-hundred since coming from Japan in 2001.

With another 200 in the hit bank, Ichiro surpasses a Hall of Famer who has one of the more famous nicknames in baseball history, "Wee" Willie Keeler, who did it from 1894-1901 for the Brooklyn Dodgers franchise.

If not "Mr. 200" for Suzuki, then how about "Wee Chiro"?

After the M's 5-0 victory, teammates soaked Ichiro in beer (hope it was Sapporo) after Ken Griffey slung him over his shoulder and carried him to the shower.

"To get to enjoy this with these teammates I have, and especially that guy over there makes me very joyful," Ichiro said.

Nine 200-hit seasons also tie for the second-most for an individual career with Ty Cobb. It's the 470th time since 1900 a player has reached 200 hits. Suzuki, who turns 36 next month, would tie Pete Rose's record with 10 career 200-hit seasons if he does it again in 2010.

Ichiro's record hit wasn't exactly a frozen rope, but his dribbler against Derek Holland(notes) scored a run to extend Seattle's lead; it's also appropriate because he had to leg it out, as he has many times. The fans in Arlington gave him a nice round of applause and he tipped his helmet in gratitude.

Ichiro has expressed an interest to play well into his 40s, so 3,000 hits are reasonable. The guy's just awesome; he grabs your attention like no other contemporary non-power hitter I can think of.

Here's more from M's beat writer Geoff Baker in the Seattle Times.

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