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April 16, 2009

Junior and Ichiro...beyond the numbers

A day after the Majors celebrated his legacy, it is important to point out that if you walk around any ballpark in the Majors, you’ll see Jackie Robinson’s 42 retired.

It’s true.

Since they retired it on April 15, 1997, no team has issued the number and outside of yesterday when EVERYONE wore it…only Mariano Rivera wears it on his back and that's because he's had it since before no one could.

Up in the Pacific Northwest...Robinson’s 42 is the ONLY number retired.

Sure, Ken Griffey Jr’s 24 and Ichiro’s 51 (also shared by Randy Johnson) will eventually make their way up to the rafters of Safeco Field.

And even though they have resisted handing out a few others...the Mariners have not yet retired any other number.

It is fitting that the Seattle faithful had something to cheer about on the anniversary of retiring Robinson's number.

Let me lay it out for ya.

In 2000, while with the Reds, Griffey became the youngest player to hit 400 home runs. Last night, back with the Mariners, Griffey hit number 400 for the Mariners. Sure, the next guy on the Mariners leader board is Jay Buhner with 309, so it is a no-brainer that Griffey’s 400 leads the pack.

And of the 43 players with more than 400 home runs for their career…more than half (23) have 400 or more with one team.

So…why was Griffey’s blast off of Angels hurler Jared Weaver yesterday worth noting?

Well, and I realize that I missed this when I did the AL West Milestone Preview a few weeks back, Griffey is now the ONLY player in Major League history with 400 home runs with one team and 200 or more with another.

"It means a lot. It's just, I don't worry about numbers," Griffey told the Associated Press. "You play long enough, you are going to rack up some numbers…some are good, some are bad.”

Also last night, Griffey and teammates welcomed Ichiro back to the lineup. And, not to be left out…he, too, hit a monumental home run.

With a seventh inning grand slam off Jason Bulger, Ichiro tied Isao Harimoto as Japan’s all-time hits leader.

Elected into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990, Harimoto amassed all of his 3085 hits playing in Japan.
Ichiro, obviously, has split his.

The first 1278 came with the Japan’s Orix Blue Wave from 1992 to 2000. The rest (all 1807 of them) have come with Seattle.

Harimoto told that Ichiro's hit total should be considered a record even though some of them didn't come in Japan.

And I couldn’t agree more.

Last August, I wrote THIS and now, eight months later…I couldn’t agree more.

Seattle Mariners official team policy states that number retirement is reserved for players in the National Baseball Hall of Fame who played for at least five years with the Mariners, or career Mariners players who narrowly miss election.

Something tells me that regardless of how Griffey and Ichiro end up (and I presume they will BOTH be Hall of Famers)…the Seattle brass will hang their numbers alongside that of Jackie Robinson.

BallHype: hype it up!

1 comment:

Cb Malling said...

With everything going on with this teabag event I think Espn should get involved. I found it kinda sad that all these news networks picked up all these teabag events. One I might even add took ownership in them and early today at around 2:00 am Espn's news coverage was the one that came to my attention.The report on Jackie Robinsons debute.
Now let's examine this day for a second please. We just elected an African American President this year, but these networks and people are trying to go and celebrate a day were these "Founding Fathers" which enslaved these same African Americans which we elect today. Something isn't right about that... if there is any story to cover please ask yourself what really happend yesturday.
I knew about Jackie's historical event before early today but I wasn't reminded of it until today and I missed any type of celebration coverage or did the media outlet not cover it enough for me to hear of it even tho I caught the news almost the whole day local and nationwide. Espn or somebody should report on this situation alone.