Ichiro Suzuki

Hitter Of The Decade: Ichiro Suzuki

No mean to disrespect the heavy hitters and 500+ HR hitters active in the Big Leagues, but power alone does not get you in to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Hitting and running is another way to get in. And no one this decade has been a better lead-off hitter than Ichiro Suzuki. The man who brought Japanese-style hitting to the US is just 1 hit shy of MLB career hit number 2,000. 2,000 hits usually puts a player in Hall of Fame contention. But when we add Ichiro's other two major feats - being the first MLB player to ever get 200 hits in 9 consecutive seasons (pending 6 more hits), and 339 steals in 417 attempts - we can argue that he already qualifies for Cooperstown.He has an interesting pose/stance, in which he holds the bat upright with his right hand, while staring between 2nd and 1st base. Usually he will hit a liner between those bases or hit a blooper to the outfield. Not exactly the hits of legend. But he does it game after game, year after year. Also, I don't want to project, but he is the only contemporary hitter who reminds me of the no-nonsense at-bats of Ted Williams. Ichiro will do the pose when he enters the batters box, but he typically wastes no time getting back in the box between pitches (Williams was even better - he would step out, take a breath, and step right back in). With his 28" waist (the same as Williams'), he even resembles Teddy Ballgame as he uses all his muscle groups, from his quads, to his knees, obliques, shoulders, and his wrists, to make 100% contact with the ball. He springs and twists when he hits the ball, very much like Ted (again, Ted was the master of 'rotational hitting'). Perhaps fans unimpressed with the distance of his hits should study his form, because it is both classic and beautiful. He in unintentionally a living example of how American-born players hit the ball generations ago. And I think that's one of the many reasons why he is the big league hitter of the decade.