A two-run homer tied him with Jay Buhner and an infield single that showcased his, um, speed moved him ahead of the former Mariners great.
In a tribute to his productivity and longevity with an organization where players have cycled in and out with great frequency since general manager Jerry Dipoto took control, Kyle Seager has continued to move up the Mariners’ career lists in this shortened 2020 season.
On Sunday, the anniversary of Cal Ripken Jr. breaking Lou Gehrig’s consecutive game streak, Seager suited up for his 1,300th career game for the Mariners and moved into fourth place alone on the franchise’s all-time hits list.
He hammered a two-run homer in the first inning off Rangers starter Jordan Lyles to give Seattle an early 2-0 lead while tying Buhner with 1,255 hits in a Mariners uniform. It was Seager’s 204th home run of his career. He has about 103 more to catch Buhner in that category.
“That’s fitting right,” he said. “I’ve got a few more to catch him in that department. I’m very honored to pass him on the hit list.”
Seager tallied his 1,256th hit on a bouncer to second base that he was able to beat out. It was the 61st infield hit of his career.
“I’m willing to bet I’m a little behind Ichiro on infield hits,” he said.
It’s unlikely that Seager will move any higher than fourth on the hit list. A look at who’s ahead of him:
- Ichiro: 2,542
- Edgar Martinez: 2,247
- Ken Griffey Jr.: 1,843
That’s not a bad group to be associated with for a career.
“Yeah, it’s very humbling,” he said in a postgame video call. “I’m extremely proud and extremely honored to be in that company.”
Seager is now five extra-base hits away from 500 for his career, which is something only Martinez (838), Griffey (788) and Buhner (557) have done in club history.
Manager Scott Servais points to Seager’s availability, as much as his productivity, as a model for the young players on the team.
“You can learn a lot from him,” Servais said in a postgame video call. “I think the biggest thing is you’ve got to play. You’ve got to show up and you’ve got to be available for the manager of the team to put you in a lineup every day.”
After seeing Seager get hit twice by pitches Saturday night, he went to Seager and asked if he wanted Sunday off. Seager said he’d text Servais on Sunday morning with how he felt. Servais got a text with Seager asking for a day at designated hitter.
“That’s how you get to that level, you’ve got to play through some things,” Servais said. “When you’re going good, when you’re going bad, you just keep grinding through it. It’s nice to be able to put him in the lineup every day. That’s what it says to our young players the value of that.”
That’s been Seager’s mindset throughout his Mariners career.
“That’s our job,” he said. “That’s been my mentality the whole time. It’s my job to play. You go out there and do your job.”
Seager has a .281/.374/.489 slash line with 10 doubles, six homers and a team-high 28 RBI this season.
“He’s having a great year,” Servais said. “We’ve seen Kyle have some phenomenal years, maybe hit a ton of homers and play great defense. He’s done a little bit of everything this year. He’s way more consistent at the plate. You don’t see that big swings, the up and down where he gets hot for 10 days and then cools off. A lot of that is attributed to his approach and his ability to use the whole field more consistently. It’s a credit to him, making adjustments throughout your career, that’s what the game is about.”
The homer also continued his torture of Texas pitchers. It was the 30th of his career against the Rangers. He has also scored 105 runs and driven in 104 runs against Texas. He became the 12th player in baseball history to reach 100-plus runs, 100-plus RBI and 30-plus home runs against the Rangers franchise (which also includes the Washington Senators). He joins Reggie Jackson, Harmon Killebrew, Norm Cash, Boog Powell, Mike Trout, Carl Yastrzemski, Tim Salmon, Frank Thomas, George Brett, Harold Baines and Garret Anderson on that list.