MLB's Sultan of Slap: 10 Stats That Prove Ichiro Is Among Baseball's Best

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MLB's Sultan of Slap: 10 Stats That Prove Ichiro Is Among Baseball's Best
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Ichiro in his first game as a Mariner, April 2, 2001.

Being the first at something always means there will be questions.

This fact held true when the Seattle Mariners won the posting process and subsequently signed Ichiro, making him the first Japanese-born position player in major-league history.

Obviously, the challenges for Ichiro were not the same as those that were laid before the great Jackie Robinson. There were some reports of racial taunts, though, these were mild in comparison to what Mr. Robinson had to endure from a much different America 54 years prior.

Ichiro's biggest challenge was to overcome the media and fans who thought he couldn't translate his Japan success to the American game. The pitchers were better. The parks were less hitter-friendly. He was already in his late 20s.

He was going to be a slap hitter who might provide little else. Even commissioner Bud Selig seemed to be a doubter. At the time, he mostly refused comment, but he called the Mariners' winning bid "surprising."

I think Ichiro has been plenty worth that $13 million posting fee.

And then some.

Here's a look at some statistics that show he was amongst the game's best in his first 10 years in the majors.

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