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Today's Fun Fact

A lot of times, the fun facts that I choose to post here are either very much fun or decidedly very much not fun. There's usually but one interpretation. This one I think could go either way. I personally see it as more fun than not fun, but I can understand the opposite argument. Not that there should really be an opposite argument. Have you considered what you're arguing about? This is a harmless fun fact on a Seattle Mariners baseball blog! Lighten up!

Anyway, Ichiro has been a Mariner since 2001. That is not the fun fact, although that is a fun fact. Perhaps we should all take a moment to sit back and think about how Ichiro has been a Mariner since 2001. Lots of good times with Ichiro. Not enough good times with Ichiro, but more than we've had with a lot of other players.

This fun fact is only going back to 2002. I wish that I could take it back to 2001 to capture the whole of Ichiro's time here, but I'm limited by FanGraphs' statistics. We are still capturing the overwhelming majority of Ichiro's time.

Since 2002, in large part because of Ichiro, the Mariners lead all of baseball with 1,522 infield hits. In second place are the Twins, with 1,326 infield hits. That is a gap of 196 hits. The gap between first and second place is bigger than the gap between second and twenty-second place. The Mariners have generated a ton of infield hits.

And for what it's worth, Baseball-Reference has the Mariners leading everybody in infield hits in 2001. They're using a different data source so I don't want to combine the two, but, yeah, since Ichiro came around, infield hits. Oodles of 'em.

FanGraphs puts Ichiro at 427 infield hits since 2002. That's 28 percent of the Mariners' team total. The second-highest individual total since 2002 is 248, belonging to Luis Castillo. There's Derek Jeter at 236, and Juan Pierre at 227, and Carl Crawford at 218, and then hundreds of guys with less than half Ichiro's amount. Albert Pujols shows up with 126, which is weird to think about. Three times in his career, Pujols has stolen at least 14 bases. Since Pujols broke in in 2001, he's stolen more bases than Adrian Beltre, Melvin Mora and Orlando Hudson.

But this isn't about Albert Pujols. This is about Ichiro, and the Mariners, and Ichiro's infield hits for the Mariners. Say what you will about Ichiro's style, but he's made the Mariners the leaders in something.