By C. Trent Rosecrans
Suzuki's played in at least 146 games in each of his 10 big league seasons, he's managed at least 206 hits in each of those, has received MVP votes in all but one season and has earned 10 Gold Gloves and 10 All-Star appearances since coming to the United States.
Last season he had the second-lowest OPS of his career (.754), but even at 37, Suzuki is one of the elite players in the game.
PLAYER ORACLEDick Pole played with Bob Galasso for the 1977 Seattle Mariners
Bob Galasso played with Bryan Clark for the 1981 Seattle Mariners
Bryan Clark played with Ken Griffey Jr. for the 1990 Seattle Mariners
Ken Griffey Jr. played with Luke French for the 2009 Seattle Mariners
It's easy to forget how big Ken Griffey Jr. was in the '90s, but no player has had the Q rating among the general public that Griffey enjoyed in that decade since then (at least in this country, Ichiro may have him topped in Japan).
Griffey was everywhere -- from Nike commercials (another favorite is here), to video games, to the big screen (Little Big League) and the little screen -- appearing on the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and in one of the best episodes in the history of The Simpsons.
Griffey was one of nine ringers brought in by Mr. Burns for the company softball team in "Homer at the Bat" (Episode 8F13).
Eight of the ringers, including Griffey, are sidelined with various incidents. Griffey, who is given the made-up job of lunch room cashier, suffers gigantism from an overdose of nerve tonic, given to the team by Mr. Burns. The others find other ways to miss the big game -- Wade Boggs is knocked out in a bar argument over England's best prime minister, Jose Canseco is burned rescuing pets and items from a burning house, Roger Clemens is hypnotized into thinking he's a chicken, Don Mattingly is booted from the team by Burns for wearing "sideburns", Steve Sax is sentenced to six life terms for various unsolved murders in New York City, Mike Scioscia gets radiation poisoning and Ozzie Smith disappears at the Springfield Mystery Spot. Darryl Strawberry is the only big leaguer to play in the game, he hits nine home runs but is taken out in the ninth inning with the score tied and bases loaded because Mr. Burns wants a right-handed hitting Homer Simpson to face the left-handed pitcher. Homer gets hit by a pitch and wins the game.
Griffey has just four lines -- "Hey, what's up guys," "Wow, it's like there's a party in my mouth and everyone's invited," "Pick me, pick me," and "all right" -- but apparently had trouble with those, as shown in these outtakes that are an "easter egg" on the Season 3 DVD. "I'm a baseball player, we don't act," he says.