Ichiro vs. Jeter
Over the weekend both Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki and New York's Derek Jeter tallied historic hits.
On Friday, Jeter passed Lou Gehrig to become the Yankees' all-time hits leader and currently stands at 2,764 over his 15-year career.
On Sunday, Ichiro became the first player in major league history to have at least 200 hits in nine consecutive years, a record that had been held by Willie Keeler for 108 years.
Jeter's approach and subsequent passing of Gehrig was met with more fanfare than Ichiro's mark. Between being the Yankees captain and a proven winner while also passing Gehrig, Jeter's feat generated more buzz, though Ichiro's achievement may be more impressive.
While both marks are built upon an impressively consistent body of work, Ichiro's also implies that he's never really had a down year. Ichiro's nine-year streak encompasses his entire career in the United States, which means that he started out hitting despite having to become acclimated to life on a completely different continent. What also sticks out is that Ichiro has been putting up his astonishing hits totals while playing for a Mariners team that has only had four winning seasons and just one playoff appearance during his career.
Meanwhile the most impressive thing about Jeter's hits total is the fact that, somehow, the Yankees have never had a player reach the 3,000 hits milestone. While Jeter's feat is no doubt impressive, he, unlike Ichiro, has routinely been surrounded by talent meaning opposing teams couldn't feel safe in pitching around him.
Though their teams have been on opposite ends of the success spectrum during the decade, the pair's numbers are fairly similar since 2001 (Ichiro's rookie season). Ichiro has a .333 batting average, .377 on base percentage and .433 slugging percentage over the last nine years to go along with nine all-star appearances and eight gold gloves (this year obviously still pending).
Over the same period, the Yankees captain has a lower average (.314) but a better OBP and slugging percentage (.383 and .454 respectively) yet somehow has two fewer all-star appearances and just three gold gloves.
Jeter dominates in one crucial category over his entire career, having won three World Series titles with New York. Of course, he hasn't won one since 2000, meaning that he and Ichiro are tied for championship rings over the past nine years.
While most people would readily claim that Jeter is a superior player to Ichiro, the numbers don't seem to bear that out but we'll open the floor to you guys.
If you were starting a new team and had to have either Jeter or Ichiro, who would you pick?
September 14, 2009; 12:07 PM ET
Categories: Mariners , Yankees | Tags: Derek Jeter, Seattle Mariners, ichiro suzuki, new york yankees
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