Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 2, 2004
BASEBALL: Ichiro's Record

So Ichiro finally broke George Sisler's long-standing hits record of 257, going 3-for-5 last night against the Rangers. But that's not all: if he manages two more 5 at bat games today and tomorrow, he'll also break Willie Wilson's single-season at bats record of 705. At a minimum, unless Ichiro takes both days off, he'll be just the third major leaguer to notch 700 at bats in a season. For a guy whose durability was questioned when he arrived here as an undersized outfielder from short-season Japan (where his career high in at bats was 546), that's impressive work.

So the season's longer. It's been longer for 42 years. Sisler had a longer schedule to work with than Jesse Burkett, who had 240 hits in a 135 game season in 1896 (288 per 162 games). (Ty Cobb broke Burkett's record in 1911). The original record of 138 hits was set by Ross Barnes, in the NL's inaugural 1876 season, in 66 games (339 per 162 games). Yes, that puts Ichiro in perspective, but don't cry for Sisler; it's the way the game's history has gone.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:29 AM | Baseball 2004 | Comments (4) | TrackBack (1)

Agreed. Rick Reilly has a silly column in this week's SI, suggesting, among other things, that there should be two sets of records, one for the 154 game schedule and one for the 162 game schedule. Ridiculous. The record is the most hits in a season. Period.

Posted by: Andrew at October 2, 2004 11:00 AM

Your point about Sisler and Burkett is valid, but the records of "modern" baseball are generally taken from the post 1900 period since the rules were quite different before then. For example sacrifice hits were once considered "hits" for purposes of record keeping.

Posted by: John D. Mitus at October 2, 2004 11:17 AM

Walks were once counted as hits too.

What I find interesting is that amid Ichiro's drive to the record, many people were claiming how unvaluable he is to his team. Because his OPS is so much lower than others (21st in AL), it is claimed that the number of hits he has is not important to the Mariners.

True, with 101 runs scored, he hasn't scored as much as 16 others in the league, but I bet the Mariners appreciate him getting on base as frequently as he does.

Posted by: Eugene at October 2, 2004 12:46 PM

When the Red Sox were out in Seattle in Sept Ichiro tried to bunt for a hit with 2 out and a runner on second. How many years did Wade Boggs have 200 H AND 100 BB? 4 + 2 seasons with 200 H and 90 BB

Posted by: Jack Tanner at October 8, 2004 1:57 PM
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