What is it about Ichiro that makes him great?
Is it his relaxed persona, his ability to make the clutch plays when his team needs him to, the extra step he takes out of the batter's box every time he swings, or is it that even though he's on top of the stat sheet every year he just doesn't seem to get the credit like many of his bigger and stronger colleagues?
Ever since the American baseball fans have seen Ichiro in 2001, most of us were amazed by his speed, contact, and just overall love for the game. But there's always been something about him that makes us "turn the other cheek" and look at some of the more powerful hitters.
Maybe it's the fact that we are more impressed with the big muscular 1st basemen that could hit 50 home runs, or the powerful starting pitchers that can throw 95+ without breaking a sweat.
The thing that I love most about Ichiro is his speed, and aggressiveness on the bases. When some people way just go for a single, Ichiro has the ability to turn it into a double, or a double into a triple. Also Ichiro is pretty much the most clutch hitter all-time.
If you judge a player's performance by their stats you have to love Ichiro. Ichiro is the only player in the history of baseball to have more than 200 hits in his first seven seasons.
It took the all time hits leader Pete Rose until his third year to have a 200 hit season. Consistency has also been part of Ichiro's game, where in his first seven full seasons in the Majors, Ichiro has hit for a .300+ average and at least 40 stolen bases every season.
Also let's compare some of his stats so far in his seven years in the bigs to some of the all-time greats. According to Baseball-Reference.com, Ichiro averages nearly 30 more hits per season than the all-time hits leader Pete Rose.
Also Ichiro averages the same amount of stolen bases in a 162 game season than Joe Morgan who's No. 11 all-time.Last but not least Suzuki has a better career batting average than hall-of-famers Wade Boggs,Rod Carew,Honus Wagner, and Joe Dimaggio.
Let's take at the impact Ichiro has on his fans. Only certain players can be so famous that everyone in the country can tell who they are even if they hate sports. When you show/ask someone who Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods are you should get a response from anyone.
But there's only a handful of players that people from an entire continent are familiar with. One of those handful of players would be Ichiro with both North America, and Asia.
When you take a look back at the WBC from this February, you would notice how huge of a superstar Ichiro was in both Japan and the United States. Whenever Ichiro came to the plate at the Tokyo Dome, the fans treated him like he was a rock-star and went crazy whenever he got a hit.
So Ichiro not only has one of the best swings, and is one of the best contact and fielders of all-time. But he we also have a big impact on baseball for the decades to come.
Every Mariners right fielder and Japanese prospect that come in to the league will be compared to Ichiro. The craziest thing is that Ichiro still has seven more good years left to show the world why he is one of the best to ever play baseball.