Ichiro now eligible for HOF
Even if Ichiro Suzuki does not play another game in his Major League career, he is now eligible for the Hall of Fame.
The first inning at-bat he had against the Athletics last night – a popup to third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff – gave Ichiro 10 years in the Major Leagues. So whenever he retires, even if it’s today, he will have qualified for HOF consideration.
Once a player retires, he must wait five years to be considered for HOF candidacy.
Several HOF voters already are on record of saying Ichiro is on the cusp of being a Hall of Famer, citing his MLB-record nine consecutive seasons with at least 200 hits. He also holds the single season hit record – 262 in 2004.
Ichiro went 1-for-4 in the season opener and scored a run in the ninth inning. It extended his personal hitting streak against Oakland to 21 games, during which he is batting .380 (35-for-92), started on August 24, 2008.
But it is not his longest hitting streak against an opponent.
He had a 26-game streak against the Royals from April 14, 2005 to April 15, 2008 and a 22-gamer against the White Sox from April 27, 2001 to May 11, 2003.
Meanwhile, it is a sunny day at the Oakland Coliseum where the Mariners will try to make it two wins in a row over the Athletics. Right-hander Ian Snell gets the starting nod against Oakland left-hander Dallas Braden.
In other news:
— Catcher Rob Johnson said the home run he hit last night was the first in his seven-year professional career that he homered on Opening Day/Night. “I lead the team in home runs,” he smiled.
— Johnson said a lot of the low pitches that Felix Hernandez (and other pitchers) threw last night would be called strikes, but plate ump Tim Tschida had a high strike zone.
“Tim was consistent for both teams, but Felix always keeps the ball down. Usually, those pitches are called strikes.”
The six walks Hernandez issued tied a single-game career high.
“It’s good to get that first game out of the way,” Johnson. “He was pretty amped.”
— Jim Street