Beloved geezer Ichiro Suzuki is very nearly a mascot at this stage of his career, appearing in just 62 games so far for the crummy Marlins, and entered today with an abysmal .209/.242/.297 line that does not suggest he is a man who any longer belongs in the majors. But he’s still plugging away, and today he got a very rare start in center field and at leadoff against the Cubs, and made history in the doing.
Elias Sports Bureau says Ichiro, at 43 years and 246 days old, passed Ricky Henderson as the oldest person to start in center field for a MLB team since at least 1900. Henderson was 43 years and 211 days old when he last started in center, in 2002 as a member of the Red Sox. Henderson was also pretty putrid at the plate as a 43-year-old, pulling a .223/.369/.352 line that nonetheless towers over Ichiro’s current production.
But Ichiro’s production hardly matters. It’s late June, the baseball season is long, the Marlins are lousy, Tim Tebow is climbing the Mets’ minor league system—just let the old guy get out there and break a sweat.
Ichiro went hitless in four at-bats and scored a run after reaching on an error in the first inning. He’s now batting a clean .200 on the year.