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09/11/2004 Archived Entry: "MLB news: Ichiro, Bonds, Beltran and more"

Milestones Aug. 24-Sept. 10
By Michael Toeset

Until Sept. 10, ICHIRO SUZUKI had been the hottest hitter on the planet, hitting nearly everything that came his way. In the course of his 14-game hitting streak, Ichiro went 17 for 34 and bumped his impressive hits total to 229 hits, only 29 shy of breaking George Sislerís longtime record. Seattle has 22 games left, so itís looking more and more likely that Ichiro will break the record. Stay tuned.

BARRY BONDS tied his single-season record for walks on Friday night, collecting his 198th free pass of the season. Itíll take maybe one more plate appearance for Bonds to break his own mind-boggling record. The top walk seasons in history:
198 Ė Bonds 2004
198 Ė Bonds 2002
177 Ė Bonds 2001
170 Ė Babe Ruth 1923
Iíd say thatís pretty impressive.

CARLOS BELTRAN is, unfortunately, following the course of Vladimir Guerrero and Alfonso Soriano, who both came up one home run shy of the 40-40 club in 2002. The pressure to join the ultra-exclusive club is huge, and Beltran has slowed as of late, perhaps affected by that stress. As it is, Beltran has 38 homers and 36 steals. Itís not that Beltran has stopped hitting recently, but heís been pounding out doubles and triples left and right, which isnít aiding his cause. As with Ichiro, stay tuned.

It seems as if every now and then, a handful of players reach the same milestone at the same time, and the past few weeks have seen more than its share of that. The first magic number was 1,000 runs. Reaching the milestone was DEREK JETER (Aug. 24), ROBIN VENTURA (Aug. 29) and IVAN RODRIGUEZ (Aug. 30).

Then weíve got 300 home runs, which was accomplished by RUBEN SIERRA (Aug. 28) and JIM EDMONDS (Sept. 4).

And finally, we have 200 stolen bases. This club has welcomed an amazing five players in recent weeks. In order of the accomplishment, the newest 200-steal club members: ALEX RODRIGUEZ (Aug. 27), JUAN PIERRE (Aug. 28), JEFF BAGWELL (Aug. 30), ROYCE CLAYTON (Sept. 2) and Jeter (Sept. 5).

In other milestones, we have VINNY CASTILLA, who hit his 300th double on Aug. 26, JOE RANDA, who slugged home run No. 100 on Aug. 29, DMITRI YOUNG, who collected hit No. 1,000 on Aug. 30, and ERIC GAGNE, who broke Dennis Eckersleyís record for most saves in a three-year span, with 143.

e-mail questions or comments to mtoeset@baseballguru.com

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