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Ichiro to receive Historic Achievement Award

SEATTLE -- One day after breaking the record for hits in a
season, Ichiro Suzuki received a few congratulatory souvenirs
Saturday from representatives of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Ichiro was presented with a replica bat modeled after a type
used by George Sisler, whose 84-year-old record of 257 hits fell on
Friday night. It's a monster bat, too: a 36-inch, 46-ounce
Louisville Slugger.

Ichiro -- who had 259 hits going into Saturday night's game
against Texas -- also received an album containing the Hall's entire
collection of Sisler photographs, as well as photos from Ichiro's
2001 visit to Cooperstown.

"He was very happy about it," Hall of Fame spokesman Jeff
Idelson said. "He has a scientific approach to understanding and
appreciating bats, as I witnessed three years ago. He was very
excited and appreciative of having a Sisler model bat."

Commissioner Bud Selig announced before the game that Ichiro
also will receive the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award.

Selig was joined at a pregame ceremony by members of Sisler's
family, including his 81-year-old daughter, Frances Sisler
Drochelman. The family gave Ichiro a St. Louis Browns cap, signed
by Sisler.

Ichiro declined pregame interview requests, as he has done all
season.

Idelson said the Hall plans to honor Ichiro by devoting an
exhibit to his feat.

The exhibit, opening later this month and running through next
summer, will be similar to those that commemorated the home run
chase six years ago by sluggers Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa.

"We're treating this with the same respect we treated the home
run race in 1998," Idelson said. "This was equally impressive, if
not more, considering that George Sisler's record lasted 84
years."

In exchange, Ichiro will donate the bat and spikes from Sunday's
season finale to the Hall of Fame. He plans to keep the bat he used
to set the record; there was no immediate word on what will happen
to the ball he hit.

Idelson will take home some hardware, too.

After receiving the Sisler replica bat, Ichiro insisted on a
trade and gave Idelson the bat he used for hit No. 200 this season.
That made Ichiro the first player ever with at least 200 hits in
his first four major league seasons.