11/10/09 4:41 PM EST
Ichiro adds to his legacy with No. 9
Seattle outfielder one away from franchise Gold Glove mark
By Jim Street / MLB.com
The only player in Major League history to have nine consecutive seasons with at least 200 hits, Ichiro on Tuesday added another Gold Glove Award to his collection as the best defensive players in the American League were announced.
Ichiro is joined in the outfield by Angels center fielder Torii Hunter and former Mariners outfielder Adam Jones, who now plays center field for the Orioles.
"I think it's a wonderful accomplishment," said Lee Tinsley, the Mariners' first-base and outfield coach. "It just goes to show his consistency overall as a player. A lot of hard work has gone into what he has done, and he has gotten a lot out of it."
Ichiro has won Gold Gloves in each of his nine Major League seasons and moved within one of tying Ken Griffey Jr. for the most defensive awards won overall and in succession in franchise history. Griffey was a 10-time winner from 1990-99.
Ichiro was the only Mariners player awarded for his defensive excellence for last season.
Adrian Beltre, a back-to-back recipient the past two seasons, was limited to 111 games this past season because of injuries and the Gold Glove went to Rays third baseman Evan Longoria.
Others selected by AL managers and coaches are: Mark Teixeira, first base; Placido Polanco, second base; Derek Jeter, shortstop; Joe Mauer, catcher; and Mark Buehrle, pitcher.
Opposing players have learned over the years not to challenge Ichiro's strong arm. Therefore, he had almost as many errors (four) this past season as assists (five) and finished with a .988 fielding percentage. He had 326 total chances.
"Ichiro has such a good reputation as an outfielder, he has stopped a lot of runners from even trying to take an extra base," Tinsley said. "He has a strong, accurate arm and the kind of speed that allows him to go into the gap or to the line.
"He is deceptively fast as far as going after balls and he runs great routes. But the play that stands out for me is when he went into the right field corner to make a catch against the wall in foul territory. Most guys would have given up on that ball."
As an organization, the Mariners now have had at least one Gold Glove winner for 23 consecutive seasons, including four in 2003.
Center fielder Franklin Gutierrez missed out this season, but could be on the verge of getting his first Gold Glove.
After playing in the shadow of two-time Gold Glove winner Grady Sizemore of the Indians, Gutierrez emerged as a top-notch center fielder in his first season with the Mariners, leading all Major League outfielders with 445 putouts. He also had six assists and committed seven errors, only one of them on a ball he dropped.
"I know how bad he wanted to win [a Gold Glove]," Tinsley said, "but him not winning is not a detriment. For me, he's one of top three center fielders in the game and he's not as well-known as some of the others.
"He did a lot of good things for us and it's just a matter of time before he makes a name for himself."
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.