This is a cool story. Turns out that Ichiro spent part of Monday visiting the St. Louis grave of Hall of Famer George Sisler, whose single-season hits record he broke in 2004. Ichiro very much wanted to pay his respects to Sisler, and brought flowers to leave at the gravesite.
Remember that Ichiro briefly greeted the members of the Sisler family that were in Safeco Field the night he got his 257th and 258th hit to tie and break Sisler’s 1920 record for the St. Louis Browns. Sisler died on March 26, 1973 in Richmond Heights, Missouri.
}”There’s not many chances to come to St. Louis,” Ichiro told me today in the American League clubhouse, speaking through interpreter Ken Barron. “In 2004, it was the first time I crossed paths with him, and his family generously came all the way to Seattle. Above all, it was a chance… I wanted to do that for a grand upperclassman of the baseball world. I think it’s only natural for someone to want to do that, to express my feelings in that way. I’m not sure if he’s happy about it.”
Ichiro said his wife, Yumiko. , went with him, as well as some friends.
Here’s what Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu had to say: I got to see the pictures with Ichiro at Sisler’s grave, and it gave me some chills. I think it’s important that people understand that there’s a different side to him, and to be able to go back and respect a man whose record he broke was awfully special.”
Here is an excellent story from 2004 about Sisler’s burial site.
I think it says a lot about Ichiro that five years later he made the effort to visit Sisler’s grave.