Monthly Archives: October 2011

A Very Ichiro Halloween

Found on the Mariners web site is this Ichiro jack o’ lantern stencil, above… Below, our friend the Ichiro impersonator (who apparently dresses up every day like it’s Halloween) has appeared again, this time on a Japanese game show…

My pals Ken and Chinatsu recorded this Gong Show-like program for me, in which contestants imitate Japanese celebrities. However, instead of getting “gonged” offstage by the judges (who for some reason are dressed like mad scientists), a trap door suddenly opens beneath the contestants, and they drop out of sight! “Ichiro” appeared in a few different bits in various Mariner jerseys, acting out at-bats, playing catch in the field, and leading off first base. He was pretty good, but was “trap-doored” each time. Needless to say, he didn’t take home any prizes.

Finally, there’s this guy, whose ’09 Halloween costume was Ichiro…

Happy 38th, Ichiro!

Ichiro hits the big three-eight today. Here’s the most recent photo I have of him, taken right after this year’s season finale.

It Was Seven Years Ago Today: Hit #258

October 1, 2004 marked the single greatest achievement of Ichiro’s career, when he became baseball’s all-time single-season hit leader. Eliza and I were among the sellout crowd of 45,573 at Safeco Field on that chilly Friday night, the 160th Mariner game of the season. Despite the team’s last-place standing,  the ballpark had an electric, playoff-like atmosphere.

In the first inning, Ichiro singled to left for his 257th hit of the year, tying George Sisler’s 84-year-old record. In the third he lined a single to center, breaking Sisler’s record with hit #258. The crowd roared, Ichiro’s teammates rushed out of the dugout to congratulate him, and fireworks exploded overhead. Ichiro walked over to the stands to shake hands with members of the Sisler family (George Sisler died in March 1973, seven months before Ichiro was born). Frances Sisler Drochelman, Sisler’s 81-year-old daughter (who wasn’t even alive yet when Sisler set his record) congratulates Ichiro…

“He [Sisler] would be proud of Ichiro,” she later commented. “He would be delighted to know what a fine person he is.”

He also addressed the crowd, with commish Bud Selig standing by…

Doffing his helmet…

After the contest resumed, Ichiro upped the record to 259 with an infield single in the sixth. Following the game, he remarked: “It’s definitely the most emotional I have gotten in my life… It’s definitely the highlight of my career.”

The following day, he hit #260, and the day after that, in the season finale on Sunday October 3, he had two more hits (Eliza and I were at that one too). The new single-season hit standard was now 262, where it’s remained ever since.

Check out these fan photos from that historic night.

Season-End Report, Part 2: Jersey Breakdown

The Mariners wore their teal home alternate  jerseys for 22 games this year, and if they had any effect on the team’s performance, they should’ve worn teal all season. Of the five basic jerseys the Mariners sported in 2011, the teal is the only one that saw them play over .500, and Ichiro had a higher batting average in teal (.297) than in any other jersey. The jerseys’ official color is “Northwest Green” — I know, right? — so let’s just call ’em what they are: teal.

Here’s how Ichiro and the M’s performed in their various jerseys this year. This includes the Turn-Back-the-Clock game, but ignores the Marineros jerseys, the Jackie Robinson jerseys, and the jerseys with American flag patches and breast cancer ribbons (since those are relatively small tweaks to their standard threads). In descending order of frequency…

Road Gray (worn with gray pants)
In 70 games, Ichiro went 82-for-292 (.280), and the Mariners went 27-43 (.386).

Home White (worn with white pants)
In 58 games, Ichiro went 63-for-240 (.263), and the Mariners went 23-35 (.397).

Home Teal (worn with white pants)
In 22 games, Ichiro went 27-for-91 (.297), and the Mariners went 13-9 (.591).

Road Navy (worn with gray pants)
In 11 games, Ichiro went 12-for-49 (.245), and the Mariners went 3-8 (.273).

Home Turn-Back-the-Clock (worn with Turn-Back-the-Clock pants)
In one game, Ichiro went 0-for-5 and the Mariners won.

Love ’em or hate ’em, the teal could be for real. The real deal Holyfield. Feel the teal. Or something.