Ichiro sets record with ninth 200-hit season
DALLAS (Reuters) - Japanese outfielder Ichiro Suzuki broke one of the oldest batting records in Major League Baseball on Sunday when he racked up his 200th hit for the ninth season in a row.
Ichiro reached the milestone with an infield single for the Seattle Mariners in the second inning of a 5-0 victory over the Texas Rangers in the second game of a doubleheader.
The 35-year-old eclipsed the previous record of eight consecutive 200-hit seasons, set by Hall of Famer Willie Keeler way back in 1901.
"When I break a record, I never feel satisfaction," Ichiro told reporters. "I strongly feel expectation from Japan and my records are things that I feel Japan (believes) they must have.
"I always want to feel satisfaction, but when I accomplish a record, I only feel relief."
A small crowd at Rangers Ballpark applauded him after the hit, and the ball was replaced and no doubt will be sent to the baseball Hall of Fame.
Ichiro, one of the cleanest hitters in baseball, left Japan in 2001 to play in the U.S. and has topped the 200-hit mark in every season he has played.
He recently became the second-fastest Major Leaguer to reach 2,000 hits, doing it in 1,402 games.
Ichiro broke another Major League record in 2004, getting 262 hits, five more than Hall of Famer George Sisler had in 1920.
"I was a witness to both (Ichiro records)," Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. "I was coaching with the Rangers when he broke the (single-season] hit record. That was something. But to break a record that was set in 1901 is even bigger in my book."
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by John O'Brien)
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