Though Ichiro Suzuki was traded to the New York Yankees during the 2012 season and elected to re-sign there last winter, many of his biggest fans and supporters remain in Seattle, where he spent the first 11 1/2 years of his MLB career. Among those fans — and perhaps the most loyal of them all — is Amy Franz, who became famous for keeping track of Ichiro’s hit total with her “Ichi-Meter” during his record-breaking 262 hit season in 2004.
As Ichiro closed in on another career milestone, his 4,000th hit between Japan and MLB, Franz decided she was going to fly to New York to support him and hopefully be there firsthand for the historic moment. Her trip would end up taking her to Boston and eventually back to New York, but the persistence paid off as she was in attendance at Yankee Stadium on Aug. 21 when Ichiro slapped one of his trademark singles by a diving Brett Lawrie to join Pete Rose and Ty Cobb as the only professional baseball players to collect 4,000 or more hits.
Milestone accomplished for Ichiro.
Mission accomplished for Franz, who was also fortunate enough to share a few moments with an appreciative Ichiro following the game.
Waited forever and finally Ichiro came out of garage! Stopped, talked to me, gave me hug and autograph!!!!! I'll tweet picture later— Amy Franz (@ichimeterlady) August 22, 2013
It doesn't get any better than that moment. Or does it?
We'll let Franz answer that one herself.
Wristband from August 21, 2013 game...the 4000th hit!!! pic.twitter.com/uxudviKUrZ— Amy Franz (@ichimeterlady) December 5, 2013
Apparently, Ichiro thought Franz was due a little more appreciation for traveling all that distance to support him, so he thanked her again with a handwritten note and a memento from the game itself.
The letter is little difficult to read in the photo so we'll transcribe it here:
I didn't know your Ichi Meter could count to 4,000.
Thanks for being there in New York, Boston, and New York again to show me it could. In appreciation of your continued support, please have the wristband I was wearing when you changed it to 4,000.
A simple and classy gesture by one of the game's undisputed class acts.
4,000 plus hits will define Ichiro's legacy on the field and eventually lead him to baseball's Hall of Fame. But it's his kindness off the field that is truly second to none and will be always worth remembering.