As Ichiro sits on the cusp of 3,000 hits, retired Yankees shortstop and future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter took a moment to reflect on his former teammate's brilliance on the field.
It takes a legend to know a legend.
As Ichiro sits on the cusp of 3,000 hits, retired Yankees shortstop and future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter took a moment to reflect on his former teammate’s brilliance on the field.
In an essay penned for The Players’ Tribune — a site devoted to giving athletes their own platform — Jeter tipped his cap to Ichiro, calling him “a guy that comes around once in a lifetime.”
Jeter wasn’t finished. He gushed over Ichiro’s all-around baseball prowess, pointing to his baserunning and arm strength as tools that often go overlooked.
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Here’s more from Jeter:
“His baserunning — his sheer quickness — was like nobody else’s in baseball. This is a guy who has used speed as his main weapon for 25 seasons as a pro.
Ichi’s arm is unbelievable. His hitting is obviously great, but at times his defense has gone underrated. You know what I mean if you’ve seen him throw someone out from rightfield. Maybe it was all that stretching.
At the plate, his hand-eye coordination and his ability to swing the bat are as pure as they come. I’ve heard some people refer to him as a contact hitter — and that’s true in a sense. As a hitter your job is to get on base, and Ichi got on base more than almost anyone. But I think just calling him a contact hitter takes away from what makes him so special. Most of us have only seen him hit singles and doubles. But he had an ability to show some power that wasn’t always apparent.”