Don Mattingly the manager of the Miami Marlins was unaware he was setting up veteran Ichiro Suzuki for yet another big milestone when he penciled him in on Sunday to play center field.
However, it seems every time the future member of the Hall of Fame steps on the playing field he is setting another new record.
Ichiro’s durability and longevity gave him another spot in the record books when he becomes the oldest player in the major league to start a game in center field since 1900 or longer according to official MLB records kept by Elias Sports Bureau.
As of Sunday when he started in center, Ichiro was 43 years and 246 days old, which is older than Rickey Henderson in 2002 when he started for Boston at the age of 43 years and 211 days.
Ichiro has 3,049 hits for his major league career and needs just four more to tie for No. 23 all time with Rod Carew. Henderson is No. 22 with a total of 3,055 career hits.
Ichiro’s start on Sunday was his second start of the season for the Marlins in center field. Ichiro played in place of Christian Yelich who was given the day off by Mattingly.
When Mattingly was asked if he knew about the latest record set by Ichiro for starting on Sunday he said he did not.
However, Mattingly did say that during the first inning he thought about his team having a 40-something on the field in center. However, Mattingly added to that by saying Ichiro does not play like he is 40 as he runs well, throws well so it does not seem he is older than 40.
Ichiro was the leadoff hitter for Sunday’s game and in the first reached base on an error. He scored during the inning for Miami’s first run on a Marcell Ozuna single. The Marlins scored three runs in the first and went on to beat the Chicago Cubs 4-2.
This season, Ichiro has played in 63 games for Miami, but usually as a pinch-hitter or late inning reserve. The veteran from Japan is hitting just .200 after going 0-for-4 Sunday.
The Marlins on the season are 34-40. They are in third place in the National League East 10 ½ games behind the first place Washington Nationals.