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David Brown

The Juice: Ichiro sharpens Hall of Fame credentials with 200th hit

David Brown
Big League Stew

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Gather 'round, because it's time to recap the most recent diamond doings. Roll Call starts in Toronto, where there was nothing on the line except for individual records, so Jose Bautista(notes) and Ichiro Suzuki(notes) obliged.

Game of the Day: Blue Jays 1, Mariners 0

Mr. 200: We're well-beyond the point of the season where, in most games, individual numbers matter more than the score. What's the difference, really, if Toronto or Seattle comes away with one more victory? Conversely, Bautista clubbing his 50th homer and Ichiro getting his 200th hit of the season deserve some ink. 'Duk covered J-Bau yesterday so let's look at Ichiro

Via the A.P.:

[Ichiro] became the first Major League Baseball player with 10 straight 200-hit seasons. [...]

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.

One act, or even a series of acts — such as 10 straight 200-hit seasons — doesn't by itself make a player worthy of the Hall of Fame. But with that being Ichiro's main claim to fame (so to speak), is this guy a lock for Cooperstown, or what?

He turns 37 next month and shows few signs of slowing to the point that he couldn't accumulate, say, 3000 career hits (he has 2,230 right now).

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This omits all of his accomplishments in Japan, of course. Even if we "don't allow" those stats in our figuring here, it's also fair to say that those years overseas cost Ichiro several seasons of his prime in the majors. If he were born in America, he'd be way past 3,000 hits and we'd be talking seriously about him chasing down Rose's all-time hit mark.

He's also got 382 stolen bases; 10 All-Star appearances; nine Gold Gloves; He's 144th in WAR among position players for his career; a .331 career batting average; he's 23rd in runs scored. He does well on the Black Ink Test and OK on gray. This is adding up.

Ichiro, to me, is a clear Hall of Famer. Disagree? What keeps him out?

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They Also Played...

D-backs 10, Rockies 9: Rockslide!

Athletics 5, Rangers 0: Lefty Dallas Braden(notes) with the quote of the night, regarding the AL West race being not quite over.

"There’s no obese lady in sight and I can't hear any singing," Braden said.

See also: DEMON BAT SLASHES CLIFF LEE

Dodgers 3, Padres 1: First place, second place, first, second. The Padres need to stick to one spot.

Rays 10, Yankees 3: If you just lie still, Javier Vazquez(notes) won't hit you. Oh, you moved.

Giants 13, Cubs 0: Some days, it seems like it would take the Giants a week to accrue 13 runs. Then, other days, Juan Uribe(notes) hits two homers in the same inning.

Royals 4, Indians 2: Just say "Sean O'Sullivan" with the thickest Irish accent, over and over, until you pass out.

Cardinals 9, Pirates 2: Albert Pujols(notes) surpasses the 40-homer plateau, Matt Holliday(notes) reaches 100 RBIs. Watching Ichiro and Bautista get their individual accolades seems OK. With the Cardinals, it seems hollow. Well, here's to double standards!

Nationals 7, Astros 2: Stan Kasten is gonna make like a tree and get outta here.

Brewers 8, Marlins 3: Corey Hart(notes) wears his sunglasses at night and he hits 30 homers for good measure.

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