Originally Published: July 11, 2007 8:15 a.m.
After watching last night's All Star Game, I was happy to see Ichiro Suzuki get the award for Most Valuable Player. He not only deserved the award, but this guy is one of the best players in the game today.Ichiro could start for any team in today's times, or in any time, for that matter. His batting average and on-base percentage compares to names like Wade Boggs and Tony Gwynn. (He strikes out more than Gwynn did, and Boggs has a better career OBP.) But Ichiro, unlike Boggs or Gwynn, is a consistent base-stealing threat, even at the ripe old age of 33. During Boggs' prime, he averaged more than 100 runs per year consistently. Ichiro is doing the same thing, and appears to have a propensity for scoring 111 runs per season (he's done that three times, and had 110 runs in 2006). Also, Ichiro doesn't appear to want days off. Unlike Gwynn or Boggs, Ichiro plays every game possible. Since the start of the 2004 season, he's only missed two games. That is ridiculous, and another interesting stat is that he has only made 15 errors during that time. (For the sake of comparison, Cal Ripken has made as many as 26 errors in a season.) Right now Ichiro is among the top 30 hitters of all time (sorted by batting order), and he's knocking on the door to make the top 20. That list features some impressive company, including several active players, like Todd Helton and Albert Pujols. Oh, and Ichiro can one-up both of those guys too. Unlike Helton, Ichiro's healthy and fast. And unlike Pujols, Ichiro steals bases and is a better fielder. Pujols may prove to be one of the best hitters of all time, but to do so, he can't allow his amazing stats to taper off later in his career, as they did with Wade Boggs and Julio Franco.So, is Ichiro the best outfielder of all time? No, but he still has the potential to be. Is Ichiro a Hall-of-Famer? I'll defy a popular cliche with my answer - that's just a dumb question. Oh, and here's another interesting, useless fact - a search for "dumb question" on Google.com produces more than 2.9 million results. I guess there's a few dumb questions in this world.