SEATTLE -- As Seattle prepares to celebrate one of the greatest hitters of Mariners past, one current player hit his way into the history books. On the eve of Edgar Martinez's induction in to the Mariners Hall of Fame, Ichiro Suzuki's single in the first inning of Friday's game against the Rangers marked the 25th consecutive game he has recorded a hit, eclipsing Joey Cora's mark of 24 set in 1997. It's no accident, either.
"I can definitely say that when I play baseball, I'm always thinking," Ichiro said through an interpreter. "I never go up to the plate without thinking and just start hacking." The streak is the longest in the Majors this season, and is a career high for the center fielder. It also marks the sixth time Ichiro has compiled a streak of 20 or more games, and while the streak is impressive in itself, Ichiro has been a catalyst for the Mariners logging 14 leadoff hits in the last 21 games. "He hit balls every place," said bench coach John McLaren. "He hits them hard, he hits them soft. That's just the type of player he is." In a sense, an Ichiro single often equates to a double, because as dangerous as he is with his bat, he is equally as lethal with his legs. Ichiro led all players in May with 13 stolen bases, and has stolen 11 bases in his last 18 games. After breaking Cora's record -- for which he received a standing ovation from the crowd of 34,570 at Safeco Field -- Ichiro stole second and later scored to give the Mariners a 1-0 lead. He scored three times in Friday's game. Only three other active players have at least three streaks of 20 or more games -- Nomar Garciaparra (5,) Vladimir Guerrero (3) and Manny Ramirez (3). As the streak continues, Ichiro's thought process never rules anything out, but for now, he's just approaching every game the same way. "I'm not making it a goal or anything, but every day when I go into the game I'm thinking 'I want to get a hit today,'" Ichiro said. "I can say that it never gets easier."
Patrick Brown is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.