Ichimeter Lady remains dedicated to Seattle Mariners, heads to spring training

Mar 17, 2015, 5:24 AM | Updated: 10:34 am

Mariners fan Amy Franz, right, sings "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," while waiting for the gates at Safeco Field to open in 2013. (AP Photo/File)

(AP Photo/File)

It would take something exceptional for Amy Franz to follow a baseball player like she has Ichiro Suzuki.

During Ichiro’s time with the Seattle Mariners, Franz counted every hit by Suzuki on her homemade counter.

The woman who became known as the Ichimeter Lady continues to follow Suzuki’s career, despite him being traded to the New York Yankees and now playing for the Miami Marlins. Franz hasn’t found another stat to follow as much as she has Suzuki’s hits.

“I just have to find something kid of quirky that seems like it’s going to stick,” Franz said from the Grand Canyon on Monday.

But that doesn’t mean she isn’t keeping track of her Mariners. The season ticket holder hangs up K’s for strikeouts by Felix Hernandez and for Hisashi Iwakuma; every time Iwakuma gets a strike, Franz adds a K to his last name.

“I cheer a lot,” she said.

Last season, Franz attended 63 games. She and her husband have been season ticket holders since 1996.

The Mariners fan also has a tradition of making signs for the player fielding right field. She had a sign for Michael Saunders, until he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Franz’s dedication to the Mariners goes beyond signs and counters, however. She is attending spring training in Peoria, Arizona beginning Tuesday. She would have been there Monday, but took a detour to the Grand Canyon.

“I’ve never been to spring training,” she said. “My big plans are to take it all in and see what’s going on.”

She and her husband will be there until Saturday. “Maybe get some autographs.”

Who knows, maybe Franz will do something during spring training that will gain her national, or international attention like the Ichimeter did.

Franz’s Ichimeter kept track of every base hit since 2004, when the former right fielder broke George Sisler’s single-season record.

“When he was getting close to breaking the record, I just thought I would make a sign to track his hits as he came closer,” she said. “It was fun.”

That original meter was donated to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

That fandom paid off. Franz received autographed memorabilia and a thank you card from Suzuki.

Franz promised fans, local and abroad, she would continue to keep track of Suzuki’s hits. She did and was there to witness his 4,000 combined career hit in the 2013 season in New York. Suzuki sent Franz the wristband he was wearing when he reached the milestone.

Despite the dedication to Suzuki, Franz will keep rooting for her home team.

“I was a fan of the Mariners before Ichiro was part of the team,” she said. “I remain a fan of the team after he’s gone.”

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Ichimeter Lady remains dedicated to Seattle Mariners, heads to spring training