12/17/10 10:01 PM EST
Most Dependable? Ichiro, of course
Mariners star honored with GIBBY Award for his excellence
By Greg Johns / MLB.com
Winners were based on votes by fans at MLB.com, media, front-office personnel and former players.
Ichiro surely has been the definition of dependable throughout his decade-long span with the Mariners. In addition to becoming the first player to reach 200 hits in 10 straight seasons, he earned his 10th straight All-Star appearance and 10th straight Rawlings Gold Glove Award.
"That's got Cooperstown written all over it," MLB Network's Harold Reynolds said when looking at Ichiro's accomplishments.
The Most Dependable Player was one of 19 awards handed out in Friday's presentation. Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez just missed winning the Defensive Player of the Year. In one of the closest ballots, Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus won that vote at 27 percent, with Gutierrez second at 26 and Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman third at 22.
Mariners teammate Felix Hernandez was one of the 10 finalists for both the Most Dependable Player and Starting Pitcher of the Year, where he finished second to the Phillies' Roy Halladay (57 percent to 30).
Ichiro -- the only position player in Most Dependable category -- won his award with 43 percent of the voting, edging Roy Halladay's 39 percent. Hernandez finished third with eight percent.
The Japanese standout hit .315 and topped the Major Leagues in hits for the fifth straight season with 214, joining Pete Rose and Ty Cobb as the only players to lead the Majors for seven or more seasons in their careers.
Ichiro and Rose now share the Major League record with 10 career 200-hit seasons. Cobb held the previous American League record of nine.
Ichiro, 37, started all 162 games for the Mariners (160 in right field and two at designated hitter), joining the Dodgers' Matt Kemp as the only players to start every game. He's now played in 192 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the AL.
Ichiro's dependability is about more than endurance. His unique blend of speed and bat control helped him reach base on a Major League-leading 59 infield hits, 20 more than runnerup Julio Borbon.
His 516 career infield are the most in the Majors since his '01 debut and one of the reasons he's accumulated 2,244 hits in 10 seasons. He reached the 2,200-hit plateau on Sept. 1 against the Angels, achieving that career mark faster than any player over the past 65 years.
For good measure, Ichiro stole 42 bases to become just the sixth Major Leaguer since 1901 to steal at least 20 bases in 10 straight seasons to begin their career.
"When you can bring what he brings to the table every day, what a guy to go buy a ticket to watch play," Reynolds said. "He's going to do something. He's going to steal a bag, get a hit, make a great play, a great throw. That's dependability. And that's Ichiro."