Ichiro Breaks 108-year-old Record

Ichiro Gets Hit No.200

Baseball superstar Suzuki Ichiro (36) set another milestone yesterday as he became the first Major League player ever to record 200 or more hits in nine consecutive seasons. In the second inning of the second game in a doubleheader against the Texas Rangers, the Seattle Mariners leadoff man hit one of his trademark infield singles to reach the 200 landmark. And this in a season where injury and a stomach ulcer forced him to sit out 16 games, as many as he missed in the last eight years combined. The hit allowed Ichiro to pass the record held by Wee Willie Keeler for more than a century. At home, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper published a special edition headlined, “Ichiro breaks Major League record.” Baseball legend Oh Sadaharu was quoted as saying, “Sometimes we forget how difficult it is to accomplish these things amid a baseball schedule which is much tougher in the U.S. than in Japan. It’s hard to find the words to describe what he has accomplished.”

• But expect the Japanese media frenzy to be distracted elsewhere today if actress/singer Sakai Noriko (38) is released on ¥5-million bail in her ongoing drug possession case. Her bail was approved yesterday, while it was refused for her husband, Takao Yuichi (41). A legal expert said this was most likely to ensure that the couple cannot “compare notes” on their upcoming trials. Takaso is scheduled to appear at the Tokyo District Court on October 21, and Sakai five days later.