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.
"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.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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