Ken Griffey Jr. or Ichiro: Who Has Done More for the Seattle Mariners?

Keff Ciardello@@bobcatkeffCorrespondent IMay 23, 2010

ST PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 14:  Infielder Ichiro Suzuki #51 of the Seattle Mariners puts on a brace in the dugout against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field on May 14, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

After an optimistic offseason, Mariners fans have been disappointed so far (still a long season, don't panic yet). I say don't look at their record right now and think about this: the Mariners have two of the best hitters of all time on the same team with Ken Griffey, Jr. and Ichiro Suzuki.

Yeah, Griffey isn't what he used to be but ww years on three teams in the MLB and a million injuries will do that to a guy that was the face of, not just the Mariners, but the entire league at one point.

He spent his first 11 seasons in Seattle before departing for Cincinnati, where his playing career went downhill due to injury. He spent nine years there, half a season with the White Sox, and he eventually returned to Seattle to retire.

Like everybody else, I was devastated when he left, but what he did in those first 11 seasons was mesmerizing. A consistent All-Star, an MVP in 1997, and a smile that reassured every parent this was a safe role model for their child.

But, he did leave us in 1999. He was traded only because he wanted to be.

Enter Ichiro Suzuki. In his rookie MLB season in 2000, this 5'11" (with cleats, maybe), 170 pound Japanese man came in and sparked the Mariners to the best record in baseball with 116 wins (also tied the record for most wins in a season). Not to mention he batted .350, drove in 69 runs, snagged 56 bases, won rookie of the year and AL MVP.

Suddenly Griffey was an afterthought.

In his 10 seasons with the Mariners, Ichiro has never batted below .300 (his worst season was in 2005, .303) In 2004, he batted an astounding .372 and broke the record for most hits in a season with 262.

Ichiro has accumulated 2,092 hits and at this pace, he could potentially surpass Pete Rose's coveted all-time hits record.

In 22 seasons in the MLB, Griffey has had 2,762 hits for his entire career (not just the Mariners). More hits, but more than double the amount of seasons.

I'm not bashing Griffey—he has posted some ridiculous numbers too. Seven times he has knocked 40-plus home runs out of the park (six of those seasons in Seattle). He also hit 56 home runs in back-to-back seasons in 1997 and 1998.

Griffey definitely put the Mariners on the map, but Ichiro has made them an international sensation, especially in Japan. Not just the Mariners but baseball as a whole.

Each player has won one MVP and has been the face of the Mariners for their respective decade (Griffey with the '90s, Ichiro with the 2000s.) However, both have failed to win a World Series (there is still time.)

It's a toss up as far as I'm concerned but I do lean a little more towards Ichiro. What do you think?