Ichiro nabs second Silver Slugger
Mariners outfielder continues to excel at record-setting pace
SEATTLE -- Ichiro Suzuki is in mid-offseason form, accepting the laurels for yet another stellar season.On Friday, the Seattle Mariners center fielder won his second career Silver Slugger Award, which recognizes the best offensive producer at every position in both leagues. He also won the award in 2001, his rookie season in which he captured the batting title (.350), the stolen-base title (56) and the American League MVP. The award comes three days after Ichiro won his seventh straight Gold Glove. The Silver Slugger winners are determined by a vote of Major League Baseball coaches and managers. Selections are based on a combination of offensive statistics, including batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage, as well as the coaches' and managers' general impressions of a player's overall offensive value. Managers and coaches were not allowed to vote for players on their own teams. Ichiro finished the 2007 season with a .351 average, second in the AL behind Detroit's Magglio Ordonez (.363). He had a Major League-leading 238 hits, reaching the 200-hit plateau for a seventh straight season. Only Wee Willie Keeler had a longer streak of eight seasons (1894-1901). Ichiro led the league in infield hits (53) and multihit games (76), was fourth in steals (37), eighth in runs (111) and ninth in on-base percentage (.396). He had the league's second-longest hitting streak, a club-record 25 games, was first in average against right-handers (.396), and had the highest average in Interleague Play (.486). While power guys traditionally dominate this award -- Ichiro hit just six home runs -- the 33-year-old native of Japan earned his way into this elite group with the league's second-best average with runners in scoring position at .397. Among the other formidable achievements for Ichiro last season were: MVP of the All-Star Game in San Francisco. He went 3-for-3, including the first inside-the-park home run. First player in modern history to have three 230-plus-hit seasons (262 in 2004; 242 in 2001). Played in his 1,000th big league game on May 24, and his 1,414 hits were the second most in that span. Finished the season with 1,592 hits, most for any player in any seven-year period. Hit .427 in June, highest average in club history for that month, his sixth career month at .400-plus. Set the AL record with 45 consecutive stolen bases without being caught. Led the Majors with a club-record .998 fielding percentage, one error in 433 chances. Joining Ichiro with Silver Slugger Awards in the AL are: first baseman Carlos Pena, Tampa Bay; second baseman Placido Polanco, Detroit; third baseman Alex Rodriguez, New York; shortstop Derek Jeter, New York; outfielder Vladimir Guerrero, Los Angeles; catcher Jorge Posada, New York; designated hitter David Ortiz, Boston; and Ordonez. The National League team is comprised of: first baseman Prince Fielder, Milwaukee; second baseman Chase Utley, Philadelphia; third baseman David Wright, New York; shortstop Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia; outfielder Carlos Beltran, New York; outfielder Carlos Lee, Houston; outfielder Matt Holliday, Colorado; catcher Russell Martin, Los Angeles; pitcher Micah Owings, Arizona. The specially designed Silver Slugger Award will be presented to each player by a representative of the Hillerich & Bradsby Co., makers of Louisville Slugger, the Official Bat of Major League Baseball, in a ceremony early in the 2008 season. The trophy is three feet tall and bears the engraved name of the winner and his Silver Slugger teammates in his respective league. The Silver Slugger Award was instituted by H&B in 1980 as a natural extension of the Silver Bat Award which is, as its name indicates, a silver-plated bat presented by Louisville Slugger to the batting champions in the AL and NL. This year's Silver Bat Award winners are Colorado's Matt Holliday and Ordonez. Holliday hit .340 to win the NL batting title. Both will receive their Silver Bat Awards in on-field presentations early in the 2008 season.
Bob Sherwin is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.