I’ve been a big Ichiro fan ever since he broke into Major League Baseball back in 2001 when, oh-by-the-way, he won the AL Rookie of the Year AND the AL MVP in the same season. He broke George Sisler’s 84-year-old record for hits in a season when he recorded 262 hits with a batting average of .372 in 2004. I heard yesterday that no player in the history of MLB has more hits in a 13-year span as Ichiro who has 2,722 hits in 13 MLB seasons. Some say that he needs to get to the magic number of 3,000 in order to guarantee a spot in the Hall of Fame. I say 3,000 gets him in on the first ballot, but if he stopped playing tomorrow I think he still gets in at some point. Ichiro began playing professional baseball in Japan for the Orix Blue Wave at age 18. He didn’t come to the United States to play for the Seattle Mariners until he was 27. Had he spent those first nine seasons playing in the major leagues, I think Pete Rose’s all-time hits record might be in serious trouble. Let us also not forget that he is a 10-time All Star and a 10-time Gold Glove winner. He also has 470 career stolen bases and over 1,200 runs scored. Congrats to Ichiro on a milestone that only two other players in the history of baseball (Pete Rose, Ty Cobb) have reached.
Originally posted on The Strike Zone - SI.com:
“It was supposed to be a number that was special to me,” said Ichiro Suzuki on collecting his 4,000th career hit in Wednesday night’s 4-2 win over the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. “What happened tonight, I wasn’t expecting. When my teammates came out to first base, that was very special, and obviously the fans — I wasn’t expecting so much joy and happiness from them.”
The reaction of Suzuki’s Yankees teammates and the 36,140 fans on hand to witness his milestone hit — typically, a single, in this case off R.A. Dickey and past third baseman Brett Lawrie into leftfield — couldn’t compare to the outpouring for Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit two years ago. The Yankees captain has spent his entire career in the organization, winning five World Series and reaching a familiar plateau that was given months of buildup. Nonetheless, when presented with the chance to recognize Suzuki’s unique accomplishment, those on hand quite literally rose to the occasion, with fans giving him a standing ovation and teammates filing out of the dugout for a brief but memorable round of hugs and handshakes at first base.