Last night in Toronto, Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki got his 200th hit of the season, which is a big deal in itself. But for Ichiro, it was just another year. The 2010 baseball season is the tenth season IN A ROW that Ichiro has eclipsed the 200 hit mark.
Pete Rose, the all-time hits leader in Major League Baseball, is the only other player to have ten 200 hit seasons, but his were not consecutive.
The word that comes to mind is consistency. Consistency is one of the most important traits - at least in my eyes. If you can do something positive over and over and over, especially in sports, it leads to success.
There are 162 regular season games in a Major League Baseball season. Ichiro has averaged over a hit a game for the last 10 years. His best total was 262 hits in the 2004 season.
Ichiro is also extremely durable. He has played in at least 157 games (again out of 162) every year he has been in the league except for last year when he played in 146.
Other impressive numbers of consistency include a batting average over .300 in all ten of his Major League seasons, scoring at least 100 runs in each of his first eight seasons and stealing at least 26 bases in every season, with his high mark being 56.
He has struck out just under 700 career times or right around 70 per season - this year's total of 84 (so far) is by far his highest. To put that in perspective, the current league strikeout king is Mark Reynolds of the Arizona Diamondbacks, who has struck out 206 times JUST THIS YEAR.
There is no question that Ichiro is a Hall of Famer. But think of what his career statistics could have been as he played his first eight seasons in Japan, where he put up just as consistent numbers as he has here in the U.S.
Consistency is a big part of anything that you do. Consistency comes from not being satisfied with what you did yesterday or your last game or last year. Stay focused on what is ahead of you and don't rely on your past performance. Ichiro doesn't.