There was always a belief that Ichiro Suzuki could hit more home runs if he wanted. Even baseball's big fly king*, Barry Bonds, said Suzuki would win the HR Derby as recently as two years ago had he entered. But while the longtime outfielder's reserved power has become the stuff of legend, as Ichiro says goodbye to the game as a player (At least, for now), the fact remains he was one of baseball's most prolific singles hitters.
Of Ichiro's 3,089 hits, 2,514 were of the one-base variety, equating to more than 81 percent. Home runs, on the other hand, counted for a scant 3.8 percent of his hits. If you followed the 10-time MLB All-Star's career, none of this should surprise you. Still, seeing where all his hits over nearly two decades wound up, is pretty mesmerizing. Check this out, courtesy of MLB's director of research and development Daren Willman:
That's a lot of infield hits for someone who could supposedly crack taters on command. . . Then again, Ichiro once hit a walk-off home run off Mariano Rivera and he went deep in his final at-bad at Safeco Field last year, which was a particularly cool moment until he decided to ruin it by hanging on too long like most athletes and signing with the Mariners. Sigh.
In 44 at bats this season, Suzuki had zero extra-base hits and only nine singles. Maybe he abruptly retired because he realized his long ball magic was finally gone? In any event, that's one cool time-lapse spray chart.