The 40-year-old Ichiro was indelibly linked with Sisler in 2004 while playing for the Mariners, when he challenged and surpassed Sisler's longstanding single-season mark of 257 hits. The record was set in Sisler's 1920 campaign with the St. Louis Browns.
Ichiro finished 2004 with 262 hits, batting .372 in 161 games. Members of Sisler's family were present at Safeco Field for Ichiro's record-breaking hit, flown in by the Mariners for the series.
"My grandfather really respected the game of baseball," Bo Drochelman, one of Sisler's grandsons, said then. "He cherished it and he played every minute to the hilt. He was dedicated to the game, dedicated to hard work and it would make him proud that the same kind of person is moving toward his record."
In 2009, while in St. Louis for the All-Star Game, Ichiro paid his respects by laying flowers at Sisler's gravesite. Sisler died in 1973.
"I wanted to do that for a grand upperclassman of the baseball world," Ichiro said then. "I think it's only natural for someone to want to do that, to express my feelings in that way."