Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cardboard Masterpieces, Pt. 10

2005 Topps #334 Ichiro Suzuki SH

It's been a while since I mentioned Ichiro on this blog.

I think it's time to change that.

If there's one player who I want to feature on a regular basis on this blog, it's Ichiro. He's easily my favorite player in the game right now. (It's a toss-up between him and Vlad, who is currently in the minors.)

Plus, I've always been a fan of "throwback" players. I never got a chance to see Rod Carew play, but I imagine he and Ichiro share a lot of similarities in the way they play the game. 

My little league career was coming to a close by the time Ichiro burst onto the scene, but I was a lot like him then. Even when I played on the school softball team in 8th grade, I rarely tried hitting the ball over the outfielders' heads. (I was pretty much the only guy on the team who didn't try to hit homers.)

I still had the same strategy during a pickup softball game I played last week. I tried hitting it deep the first couple times, but I hit it right at the left fielder both times. I picked up a couple singles down the line my next two times up.

As much as it hurts me to say it, I think Ichiro might be the last of a dying breed. Sure, there's guys that don't hit a lot of homers in today's game. But out of all the guys I've seen, Ichiro is the only one to make an art out of it. 

I always love to watch home runs, but nothing is quite like seeing a player like Ichiro at work. 

His 262 hits in '04 is a record that might stand forever. The same could be said about his 225 singles that year as well.

With the 400+ cards I own of Ichiro, it's easy to forget about a few here and there. I was browsing through my Mariners binder this afternoon when I came across this card. I'm not sure how, but I had completely forgotten about it. 

"Highlights" cards often hold the best shots of any subsets. (Take this one, for instance.) 

The best part about this particular card is the fact that the photographer managed to snap a shot during the split-second during which the "Ichiro Hit Count" at the right of the card shifted to the record-breaking 258th hit. (It's also a "claustrophobic" candidate.)

I don't know that we'll ever see another moment quite like this one again.


Mike said...

That is one of the coolest cards in your collection,boy.....amazing they got the counter in mid-count!

The Diamond King said...

I share your admiration for Ichiro. And Carew! Great, unique players who are fun to watch.

hiflew said...

I think there are still a few guys that could carry on the mantle of singles hitter that was worn by Carew, Gwynn, Boggs, Jeter, and Ichiro. The first that comes to mind is Starlin Castro. I also think Elvis Andrus, Nick Markakis, and Dustin Pedroia could also fall into the category. Time will tell, but I agree that these types of guys will be the minority by far.