Ichiro Suzuki visited the grave of Hall of Famer George Sisler during an All-Star Weekend, paying his respects to a man whose name is so often linked with the Seattle superstar. With all the folderol and fluff that accompanies the game, this was a nice aside and a reminder that for all of our American magnificence, there are things in other cultures that we would do well to emulate.
Ichiro surpassed Sisler’s MLB single-season record of 257 hits five years ago, and the Hall of Famer’s descendants – including his 81-year-old daughter, traveled to Seattle to be on hand for the historic moment. With that context, Ichiro decided to take time in the middle of his ninth All-Star weekend to respond to that gesture, according to a report on ESPN.com.
“I wanted to do that for a grand upperclassman of the baseball world,” Ichiro told MLB.com. “I think it’s only natural for someone to want to do that, to express my feelings in that way.”
Ichiro, along with his wife and several friends, laid flowers at Sisler’s grave at Des Peres Presbyterian Church Cemetery.
The report also noted that though Ichiro had been an All-Star each year of his nine-year major league career, this visit to St. Louis was probably a bit more noteworthy because he got to meet President Barack Obama, who threw out the first pitch. Prior to the game, the President visited the clubhouses and signed a ball for Ichiro, who reportedly gave a slight bow upon meeting the President and appeared as giddy and excited as a kid.
One presumes that meeting the President was similarly thrilling for most of the players, but I gotta admit that this is the first time I ever heard of a modern player placing flowers at the grave of one of the legendary figures who came before him.
And I like it a whole bunch, if you’ll forgive the lame pun.