Baseball is a sport full of characters. Like Japan's Ichiro Suzuki.

He recently reached a huge milestone: 3,000 hits. It's a big deal.

But what's more interesting is how Suzuki does what he does.

Ichiro Suzuki, still connecting

Credit: Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports

"I think the first thing people notice is all his little quirks and details, the little things he's perfected over the years to get him ready to hit," says ESPN staff writer Tommy Tomlinson.

It includes his batting stance. Tominson says Suzuki holds his bat out and up like a sword. Then he tugs his shirt sleeve. "It looks like an archer ready to draw a bow," he say. "That batting stance is something that is unique in baseball history."

Nearly everything is unique about Ichiro. He cleans his own cleats, something most players get an assistant to do. He clips any loose threads off his jersey, and then sweeps them up with a lint roller. And he stores his bats — made of Japanese Tamo wood — in a climate-controlled case.

"He treats his equipment very reverently," he says. "And thinks of his bats and gloves and other things as being almost sentient beings that need to be cared for and paid attention to."

Tomlinson believes it's the intersection of Zen and obsession and preparation. It's what makes Suzuki one of the greatest hitters the sport will ever see.

From PRI's The World ©2016 PRI