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A surprisingly personal and insightful book on Ichiro
on October 15, 2004
Ichiro recently broke the Major League Baseball record for most hits in one season, a record that had stood for 84 years. On the evening in Seattle when he had a chance to tie the record with a hit, or break it with two, he promptly hit safely his first two times up. His record number of 262 hits was nearly 50 hits better than the runner up in the American League this season.
This book gives a very personal glimpse into the mindset of the man who not only has set numerous Major League records, but is a national hero in his native Japan after winning seven consecutive batting titles there. The book is laid out entirely in Q&A format and covers his entire playing career, his childhood, little league, his move to America and his first three seasons playing for the Seattle Mariners. While most biographies tell a story, what is surprising about this book is how direct and honest he is. It is fascinating to read about the mental and physical preparation he puts into the game.
Recently a Sports Illustrated writer attempted to discount his hits record. This was a huge miss. Ichiro is the real deal, a major leaguer who respects the game in every way, plays his all for the fans, and earns every hit he gets. The hard facts are that for 84 years thousands of players have failed to break that record for a reason. An amazing athlete with gold glove fielding ability, an arm like Roberto Clemente, and the ability to turn a soft infield ground ball into two bases with a single and a stolen base.
This book is worth reading if you are at all a fan of the game. It is refreshing in an era of ego-maniacs and over paid prima donnas, that we have an athlete who takes his craft seriously, wants to work to earn every penny, and is humble in the process. If you are not a fan of his records, then this book will likely make a fan out of you for his professionalism, respect for the game and attitude. An unfortunate rarity in sports these days. A class act all the way.