Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Hidden Superstar: A Zisk Special on Ichiro

In August of 2009 I found myself watching some West Coast baseball, as the Yankees were playing the Mariners at Safeco Field. And, as I found myself doing rather frequently after I joined the iPhone cult, I was scrolling through Twitter and making an occasional post. New York Times Yankee beat writer (now their national baseball writer) Tyler Kepner tweeted a comment about Ichiro Suzuki being the only player that could have hit a certain pitch. I responded to him by asking, “Ichiro has to be a first ballot hall of famer, even if he doesn't make 3000 hits, right?” Kepner responded by saying the outfielder definitely was in his mind. I tweeted back to him, “Good to know. I hope there's no ‘East Coast’ bias when he is up for election.”

That exchange got me thinking about the Hall of Fame and how Ichiro and Albert Pujols would both qualify for entry once they started their tenth seasons this year. So I hatched a crazy idea to compile thoughts from our writers about these two players who have been considered by many to be among the best of the past decade. My suggestion yielded very little on the Pujols front (our long-time contributor Jeff Herz goes into some detail about Pujols in his piece below), but people seem to be passionate (either positively or negatively) about Japan’s greatest export to our favorite game. So what follows are five takes on Ichiro, his place on the game, his Hall of Fame of potential and his seemingly endless amount of quirks.

(Note: The articles by John Shiffert and Jeff Herz from this issue are not online because the graphic tables they used ended up looking like crap when I tried to post them here. Hopefully I'll be able to rectify that at some point. And when I do, they'll be up here.)

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