There has been a lot of speculation on whether Ichiro's hits in Japan should or should not count towards his hit total in the MLB. I absolutely believe they shouldn't be. Baseball in Japan is different than it is in the United States. He faced different pitchers under different circumstances. Those hits count in Japan not here.
However that doesn't take away from the fact that Ichiro is one of the best hitters in baseball history. Despite a decline in performance as well as playing time Ichiro has a lot to offer the Marlins. His experience along with his hitting ability makes him a fan-favorite in Miami.
Today I'm going to show my top 5 favorite cards of Ichiro in my collection.
#5 2016 Topps
I will be the first to admit that 2016 is one of my least favorite Topps sets in recent years. There were only a few cards that Topps was able to pull off and that look nice in this set. This is one of those cards. The photo looks like something out of Stadium Club (which I'll get to later) and for once the smoke works well at least on half the card. The top 1/2 of the smoke looks like part of the stadium lighting. It's not the best Ichiro card I've ever seen, but it's certainly good enough to make the top 5.
#4 2010 Topps Turkey Red
Turkey Red has gone the way of many other Topps art-based brands. Gallery, National Chicle, T205, and T206 have all been introduced and then sadly discontinued. Turkey Red lasted a few years and brought us some amazing cards. The elegant frame of the 2010 set goes well with the picture of Ichiro ready to take a swing. The sun in the top right adds a nice touch to the card. To me this is more than a baseball card. It looks like artwork. It has such amazing aspects and that's why it made the top 5.
#3 2004 Leaf Picture Perfect
(Ignore the rainbow lines from the scanner they're not part of the actual card)
The design of this card is absolutely stunning. The patters in the corners along with the great color choice helps make this card look very high-end. This insert set is definitely one that is different than the usual basic choice like "greats" or "milestones" that have been used over and over by every brand. It does something different and that along with the design makes it one of my favorites.
#2 2016 Topps Stadium Club
When I think of the entire Stadium Club brand this is the first card that comes to mind. I picked up this colorful card for a dime at a card show last year and it has instantly become one of the more recognizable cards in my Ichiro collection. The blurred out background adds an amazing splash of color to the card while Ichiro is looking confidently up at the sky. I'm also very pleased they chose the black uniform rather than the orange, because that would just be too much color. Like I said before this card is colorful and Topps made a great choice with this picture. But there is one card that's just a bit better
#1 2009 Topps Heritage Mayo
The name of the insert may be weird, but the card itself is perhaps one of my favorite modern cards in my entire collection. Black borders work well in almost every set, but the amazing quality image with such a perfect picture elevates this card to another level. The sky and tree in the background makes this breathtaking card even better. Someone please tell me what this is based off of (if it's even bases off anything), because this is just such a creative and classic styled card. If Topps made more products like this they'd see their sales soar without a doubt.