Since Day 1 of his major league career, Ichiro’s home run-hitting prowess in batting practice has been a well-known legend. Now there’s a chance he will finally bring that show of power to the MLB Home Run Derby.
The Mariners have begun an #IchiForDC campaign, and manager Scott Servais used the platform of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM to bring some attention to it.
“I think Ichiro would be a great addition at the home run-hitting contest at the All-Star Game, because he takes BP every day and he is launching balls – it is really fun to watch,” Servais said on SiriusXM. “He comes out every day, he takes his BP very seriously. Everybody remembers when Ichiro was on top of his game he was slapping the ball all over the place, but he has power. … He can still handle the bat.
“… Write-in vote #IchiForDC and let’s run with it.”
Ichiro has hit 117 homers in the MLB, with 15 in 2005 serving as his career-high. There was always a long-held belief that he could be more of a power hitter if he chose to be, but as a speedy leadoff man he concentrated more on getting on-base with base hits.
The 44-year-old future Hall of Famer began the season as a reserve outfielder for the Mariners but transitioned to a Special Assistant to the Chairman role in May. He still suits up and takes part in pregame activities with the team (including throwing early BP at times) but is not allowed in the dugout during games – though he tends to be the first one out on the field after a Mariners win.