"To tell the truth, I’m not excited to go to Cleveland, but we have to,' Ichiro said through an interpreter. 'If I ever saw myself saying I’m excited going to Cleveland, I’d punch myself in the face, because I’m lying.'"
This is awesome as Cleveland is a shit hole. My hat is tipped to Ichiro. I also like how he treats the Japanese press like shit. He rarely gives them bits of information and acts like a dick. Supposedly, he is a pretty funny guy in the locker room, but he never shows this side tot he Japanese press. Awesome.
Ichiro poses a problem for the BBWA when it comes to voting for the Hall of Fame. Ichiro will have 10 years under his belt, and possibly 2000+ hits, a career BA of .330, MVP & ROY awards, and cultural significance as he was the groundbreaker for Japanese position players. You might call his case flimsy, but he matches up well with Kirby Puckett. I say this because there are folks who consider Curt Schilling and John Smoltz HOF guys (I agree about Smoltz), but Jack Morris is not in the HOF. Puckett and Ichiro match up well with one another. Puckett was a number 3 hitter, so he had more opportunities to drive in runs, but their numbers look similar. The big difference in their resumes is the 2 World Series championships for Kirby with the Twins. Ichiro lacks World Series success, and batted .421 in the one postseason he played in with the Mariners.
If Ichiro keeps up his pace for 3 years beyond the current season, and with his great conditioning, that is possible, he could reach 2250 hits. He could see a drop off in production to around 200 hits a year, instead of his annual average of 229, and still reach 2000+ hits. His OBP is very good for a guy who does not walk a lot, so teams could request his services until he said "I'm done". If that went on towards his 40th birthday with a drop off to 150 hits a year after age 36, he couldend up just shy of 3000 (2250 + 4 X 150). His case would be strong for a guy who did not play his first game in the majors until he was 27. It is a strong possibility that if he cracks 2500 hits, that some writers use him as a cause to champion the international flavor of the MLB by putting him in the HOF.