Here, from the Nikkei Weekly of September 26, 1994, is a story about Ichiro setting a new mark in Japanese baseball:
Japanese professional baseball celebrated its newest hero last week, as 20-year-old Ichiro Suzuki slammed his way to yet another record, breaking the 200-hit barrier in a single season.
A right fielder for the Orix BlueWave, he achieved the feat on Sept. 20 at his team’s home stadium in Kobe during the sixth inning of a Pacific League game against the Lotte Marines. He extended his tally to 203 as of Sept. 23, when he played his 124th game of the 140-game season. He has missed 10 games this year.
On Sept. 14, Ichiro broke the record of 191 hits, which was set in 1950 by the late Tomio Fujimura of the Hanshin Tigers during a 140-game season.
Ichiro, who is in his third year with Orix, thanked fans for his feat in an extraordinary mid-game interview. “I’ll continue my efforts,” he said.
Ichiro uses his first name only, an attempt by Orix to attract the attention of baseball fans to the player who had been almost unknown in the beginning of this season.
The player has an estimated annual salary of 8 million yen (80,000 dollars), modest for a professional baseball player. His salary is expected to balloon to more than 50 million yen next season.