Tag: Ichiro Suzuki

Ichiro Suzuki’s Contract Option Picked Up by Marlins: Latest Details, Reaction

The Miami Marlins officially picked up the contract option on outfielder Ichiro Suzuki on Wednesday to keep him with the organization for the 2017 season. 

The Marlins announced the decision on their official Twitter feed. Ichiro is scheduled to make $2 million during the final year of the current deal, per Spotrac.

One year ago, it appeared the 42-year-old legend was finally starting to fade. The Japanese superstar posted a career-low .282 on-base percentage and finished with a negative WAR (-0.7) for the first time, according to FanGraphs.

Ichiro bounced back in a significant way during the 2016 campaign, though. While he didn’t make the type of daily impact he did during his prime with the Seattle Mariners, his .354 OBP was back in line with his career average while he filled various voids for the club.

The 10-time All-Star also reached a couple of milestones during the season.

In June, he passed longtime Cincinnati Reds star Pete Rose with his 4,257th career hit between his time in MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan. The outfielder told Joe Frisaro of MLB.com through an interpreter he wasn’t interested in the debate about being the true hit king.

“I don’t think you can compare,” Ichiro said. “Obviously, it’s a combined record. So I always just say, ‘What people think about that record, if they recognize it, I’ll be happy.’ But obviously, 3,000, it’s a no-doubter. Obviously, it’s a record here. So that is a goal I want to achieve.”

He accomplished the latter task in August with a triple against the Colorado Rockies. He expressed concerns about how he had achieved the mark, but his resurgent play alleviated them, per David Waldstein of the New York Times.

“Are you at the end and can barely play and are just chasing this number and can barely get there?” Ichiro said. “Or are you part of a team trying to win ballgames, going about your business properly as you go past that number? I think that is what I want to experience, and that is what is important for me.”

Looking ahead, Ichiro figures to play the role of fourth outfielder again next season behind the triumvirate of Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna.

He can still play all three outfield spots at age 42, which will lead to a few starts per week. Per FanGraphs, he posted a plus-six defensive runs saved figure this season, and that also allows him to serve as a defensive replacement in the late innings off the bench.


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Ichiro Suzuki Collects 3,000th Career MLB Hit vs. Rockies: Highlights, Reaction

Miami Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki cemented his place in baseball lore Sunday, as he became the 30th player in MLB history to record 3,000 career hits with a triple in the top of the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies:  

MLB.com shared video of the historic moment:

The 42-year-old veteran racked up 1,278 hits during his career in Japan, giving him a total of 4,278 hits in major professional baseball. 

Pete Rose is Major League Baseball’s all-time hits leader with 4,256 hits, and while some consider Ichiro the Hit King due to his exploits in Japan, Rose disagrees, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today:

It sounds like in Japan they’re trying to make me the Hit Queen. I’m not trying to take anything away from Ichiro, he’s had a Hall of Fame career, but the next thing you know, they’ll be counting his high-school hits.

I don’t think you’re going to find anybody with credibility say that Japanese baseball is equivalent to major-league baseball. There are too many guys that fail here, and then become household names there, like Tuffy Rhodes. How can he not do anything here, and hit (a record-tying) 55 home runs (in 2001) over there?

It has something to do with the caliber of personnel.

Regardless of Rose’s position, Ichiro’s 3,000th MLB hit put an exclamation point on a career that likely has him ticketed for the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, one day.

Ichiro is in the midst of his 16th MLB season, and while he is no longer the same player who made 10 straight All-Star teams and won 10 consecutive Gold Gloves, a Rookie of the Year award and an American League MVP award with the Seattle Mariners from 2001 through 2010, he continues to be a useful asset.

As the fourth outfielder for a Marlins team that is in the thick of the National League playoff race, he entered Sunday hitting .318 for the season. Players often back in to their 3,000th hit by virtue of hanging around for too long, but Ichiro has proven this season that he is still a capable performer at baseball’s highest level.

While Ichiro could decide to retire at the end of the 2016 campaign, the Marlins have a club option to retain him for 2017 should he opt to continue playing. Based on how well he has fared this year, the organization has every reason to keep him around if he’s willing to do so.

If Ichiro does play in 2017, he has a great chance to crack the top 20 in career MLB hits, which would bolster his Hall of Fame resume even further. Earlier this year, Ichiro told Marly Rivera of ESPN that he would like to play until he is 50.

Due to his unique hitting style and consistent production, Ichiro is a one-of-a-kind player. After reaching 3,000 hits, there is no denying his status as one of the greatest hitters to ever play the game.


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Ichiro Suzuki Once Had Countless Doubters, But Now He Has 3,000 MLB Hits

Right from the start, there were those who believed in Ichiro Suzuki. And there were those who didn’t.

Bobby Valentine was a believer. He managed against Ichiro in Japan, and in the fall of 2000, he told people Ichiro was one of the five best players in the world.

Randy Johnson was not. The former major league infielder (not the Hall of Fame pitcher) played the last two years of his career in Japan and later scouted Ichiro in an All-Star series.

“I didn’t think the Japanese style of hitting would work [in the major leagues],” he said. “Wrong again.”

He wasn’t the only one. There may not have been 3,000 questions about Ichiro in the Seattle Mariners’ 2001 spring training camp, but there were probably 3,000 doubters.

For all the batting titles he won in Japan (seven in seven years) and for all the money the Mariners spent to get him (a $13.125 million posting fee, plus an initial $14 million, three-year contract), even Seattle wondered if he could handle a real major league fastball.

“It’s a tough adjustment, because big league players throw harder,” said Lou Piniella, Ichiro’s first major league manager. “That was the only concern.”

Three-thousand hits later, we have our answer.

We actually had it a lot sooner, because Ichiro became an instant star, a pure hitter who was also a spectacular outfielder and great baserunner. On a Mariners team that won 116 games, he was so good that he was named both the Rookie of the Year and the Most Valuable Player in the American League.

“Ichiro became the face of the franchise in a very short time,” Piniella said.

It’s interesting to look back now, in a season that has seen an Ichiro revival and now his 3,000th career hit. It’s interesting there was ever a concern whether he could handle the heat, because he’s 42 years old now and can still handle it.

His 2,990th hit, on July 4 against New York Mets reliever Hansel Robles, was a line-drive double into the right-center field gap—on a 95 mph fastball. 

The 3,000th came Sunday in Colorado on a Chris Rusin cutter, a triple pulled to deep right field.  

Jim Colborn was right.

Colborn was the Mariners scout who followed Ichiro in Japan. In the spring of 2001, when so many others still had so many doubts, Colborn told Ross Newhan of the Los Angeles Times Ichiro would hit .300 every year, make an All-Star team, challenge for a batting title and maybe win a Gold Glove.

“No one is expecting him to hit .350, which was his career average in Japan, but I think he might,” Colborn said.

He hit .350 that first year, winning the first of two batting titles. He hit .300 in 10 straight years (and is doing it again in his revival season this year). He made 10 straight All-Star teams and won 10 straight Gold Gloves.

“He’s had a wonderful career,” Piniella said. “And I look forward to the time he’ll be inducted into the Hall of Fame.”

Piniella can laugh now about that first spring training, but those who were there remember the Mariners weren’t laughing then. They’d committed what seemed then like big money, in part because of those reports Colborn sent but in larger part because their Japanese ownership pushed for it.

Only three other major league teams even put in bids, although agent Tony Attanasio told reporters (including Murray Chass of the New York Times) that he scared some teams off by telling them Ichiro didn’t want to play in a city without a significant Japanese population.

Other teams just weren’t sure he could handle major league pitching. Remember, before Ichiro, no Japanese position player had come to the major leagues.

And in that spring of 2001, he seemed to be confirming all those doubts, with soft grounder after soft grounder to the left side of the infield.

“He didn’t really do anything in spring training,” then-Mariners pitcher Jeff Nelson told Larry Stone for a 2011 story in the Seattle Times. “People were thinking, ‘This guy might be overmatched.'”

Piniella seemed to be one of those people, and at one point, he asked Ichiro whether he could pull the ball. That day, Ichiro pulled it, for a home run onto the bank behind right field at the Mariners’ spring ballpark.

“He rounded the bases, stepped on home plate and looked at me and said, ‘Are you happy now?'” Piniella remembered.

That spring training home run didn’t count in the record books, but Ichiro has hit 113 since then that did count. And while many of us wonder how many hits he would have had if he had begun his major league career earlier (he was 27 when he joined the Mariners), Ichiro himself has sometimes wondered how many home runs he would have hit.

“My skills were born playing in Japan, and I developed there,” he told me for a story I did three years ago for CBSSports.com. “Maybe it would have been different if I played here.

“Maybe I would have been a power hitter.”

He laughed as he said it, but one of the secrets about Ichiro was that he did show off home run power regularly in batting practice. He topped 20 home runs a couple of times in Japan.

“Safeco [Field] was one of the toughest places to hit home runs, and we didn’t expect that,” Piniella said. “We expected what we got, a young man who led off, got on base, stole bases and scored runs. He was our table-setter.”

He was fun to watch, but the truth Ichiro himself told later was that he wasn’t really having fun at the start.

“To be honest with you, I did not feel comfortable,” he told Stone in 2011. “Our team won, and that solved everything. But being a rookie, I felt very desperate. I needed to perform as the first Japanese position player. I represented a lot of people, and I needed to perform so they would have a chance.”

Others have now had a chance, and some have had decent success. But it’s Ichiro, the guy who started it all, who will eventually go in the Hall of Fame.

Cooperstown is a certainty now, based on his major league numbers alone. But that can’t happen until Ichiro retires, and he keeps telling anyone who will listen that he wants to play until he’s 50.

“At least 50,” he told Craig Davis of the South Florida Sun Sentinel this spring.

Why not? He’ll probably be able to hit a major league fastball then, too.


Danny Knobler covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report.

Follow Danny on Twitter and talk baseball. 

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Ichiro Suzuki Comments on 3,000 Hits, Pete Rose, Playing Future, More

Ichiro Suzuki has been one of the biggest stars in Major League Baseball since his arrival in 2001. The Miami Marlins outfielder is on the verge of becoming the 30th player in MLB history with 3,000 hits, needing just two more to hit that milestone.

Speaking to ESPN.com’s Marly Rivera, Suzuki downplayed the significance of 3,000 hits because of where he is at in his career right now:

If you’re at the end of your career and you are limping toward that number, the goal is just to get to it. But for me, when you are part of a team, you’re out there just playing baseball, and you [just happen to] get to that number. I am not limping to that number. I am playing the game, and I happen to get to that number because that’s where I am.

This will actually be the second time Suzuki has made it to 3,000 hits, though the first time didn’t get nearly as much fanfare because it was in combination with the 1,278 hits he had in nine seasons playing in the Japan Pacific League. 

Suzuki told Rivera he’s not overwhelmed by this particular moment because of what his current job with the Marlins entails:

Obviously, I have had experiences in Japan and here regarding reaching particular numbers. But right now, I feel pressure every day because I am in a position where if you don’t perform, you don’t play. I am the fourth outfielder. I am trying to do well today so I can play tomorrow. I think it might be different if I was in the lineup every single day. But you’ve got to hit in order to play.

Playing in the National League without a designated hitter has afforded Suzuki plenty of opportunities to stay fresh. He has appeared in 86 of Miami’s 102 games, hitting a robust .335/.408/.394 with more walks (23) than strikeouts (18) in 214 plate appearances entering Friday’s slate of games. 

On the subject of career hits, Suzuki recently passed Pete Rose’s record of 4,256 hits, if you combine his numbers from Japan and MLB. 

Rose did make sure to pump up his own MLB accomplishments while still saying he would applaud when Suzuki reaches 3,000 hits, per the Associated Press (h/t Fox Sports): “Absolutely because he’ll be the 30th guy to get 3,000. There’s been two get 4,000, and I’m the only one you’re going to talk to at the present time because the other one is Ty Cobb.”

Suzuki told Rivera he didn’t mind anything Rose said about his career hit total: “I was actually happy to see the Hit King get defensive. I kind of felt I was accepted. I heard that about five years ago Pete Rose did an interview, and he said that he wished that I could break that record.”

Despite being 42 years old, Suzuki said he does not see himself retiring anytime soon, noting he wants to keep playing “until I am at least 50.”

He noted there really is no difference in the way he feels today in 2016 and how he felt in 2004 when he set the MLB record for hits in a season with 262. 

Based on the numbers Suzuki has put up so far in 2016, even in a more limited role, it’s hard to argue with him. He might be one of the few athletes who could reasonably expect to keep playing until they were 50 because he has such a unique hitting ability. 

Suzuki’s prime is in the past, but his physical conditioning has allowed him to remain one of MLB’s best bench assets at this stage of his career. 

It will culminate in a proper celebration with the Marlins when Suzuki reaches 3,000 hits and eventually gets elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame five years after he does decide to retire. 

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Suzuki Doubles to Move Within 2 Hits of 3,000 for Career

Miami Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki hit a pinch-hit double in the seventh inning of Thursday’s 5-4 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, giving him 2,998 career hits to move within just two of the 3,000-hit barrier, per ESPN Stats & Info.

With the Marlins trailing 5-3 and catcher J.T. Realmuto on first base with one out, Suzuki was brought in to replace relief pitcher Mike Dunn, who had earlier taken over for a struggling Jose Fernandez.

Suzuki roped a ground-ball double to right field on the second pitch he saw from Cardinals reliever Jonathan Broxton, but right fielder Stephen Piscotty was able to cut the ball off before it reached the wall, holding Realmuto at third base and Suzuki at second.

Light-hitting Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria then grounded out to bring Realmuto home, but Suzuki (who represented the tying run) was stranded at third after infielder Chris Johnson was called out on strikes.

Although they got two more chances, the Marlins never got another runner past first base, grounding into double plays in both of the last two innings.

In any case, the 42-year-old Suzuki will soon become the 30th member of the 3,000-hit club, despite playing in his native Japan for his first nine professional seasons (from 1992 to 2000).  

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Ichiro Records 3 More Hits to Move Within 6 of 3,000

When Miami Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki legged out an infield single in the bottom of the eighth inning during Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals, the hit represented his third of the day and 2,994th of his MLB career, per MLB.com.

There aren’t many players in baseball that can be described by simply using their first name, but Ichiro certainly fits that mold both in uniqueness of name and level of play deserving of the honor.

Unanimously regarded as the greatest MLB player to ever come from Japan, the 42-year-old outfielder started a phenomenon following his migration to the United States in 2001 and instantaneous success at the major-league level.

When discussing his MLB hitting numbers, it’s certainly worth noting that he spent nine years playing in Japan prior to leaving his home country. When adding those totals to his 2,994 in the MLB, his total skyrockets to an astounding 4,272 career professional hits.

The tally would make him the all-time hits leader, but many, including MLB hit leader Pete Rose, believe the numbers from Japan shouldn’t count toward Ichiro’s total. Even with the Japanese numbers not taken into account, Ichiro has a real shot at cracking the all-time top 25, needing just 29 more hits to match Lou Brock (3,023) in 25th place.

He figures to be a lock for the Hall of Fame and deservedly so. Among his accomplishments are a Rookie of the Year Award, an MVP, a Golden Glove and a Silver Slugger…and that’s just from his 2001 rookie season. He’s since added nine more Gold Gloves and three more Silver Slugger trophies, not to mention qualifying for 10 straight All-Star Games.

Unlike many of today’s stars who make their names racking up home runs, Ichiro has broken double digits just three times in his MLB career, relying primarily on making contact (.314 career average) and wreaking havoc on the basepaths (more than 30 stolen bases in 10 of his first 11 major league seasons), in addition to his well-known prowess as an outfielder.

While many of the commonly named best hitters in the history of baseball are known for power, when Ichiro’s career gets looked back on, an argument could be made for him being near the top.

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How Should We View Ichiro Suzuki’s 4,257 All-Time Professional Hits?

It was, in most respects, a typical Ichiro Suzuki hit: The tightly coiled, upright stance; the quick, slashing swing; a low, scorching liner past first base and into the right field corner.

But this particular hitwhich came in the ninth inning of the Miami Marlins’ 6-3 loss to the San Diego Padres on Wednesday—carried extra significance.

It was the 4,257th of Ichiro’s professional baseball career, which happens to be one more than the record-setting 4,256 Pete Rose collected in his storied, controversial big league tenure.

MLB immediately commemorated Ichiro’s achievement: 

There’s a rub, however, as you’re no doubt aware. While Rose tallied all of his hits in the major leagues, Ichiro’s total includes 2,979 MLB knocks and another 1,278 from his days in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB).

Ichiro is a great hitter. Rose was a great hitter. These facts are not in dispute. Still, we’re left with the sticky, unavoidable question of how to view Ichiro’s achievement.

Did he just pass Rose in the record books? Does he deserve any share of the hit record? If so, how big of an asterisk should be tacked on?

We know what Rose thinks, thanks to remarks he made to USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale on Tuesday:

It sounds like in Japan, they’re trying to make me the Hit Queen. I’m not trying to take anything away from Ichiro, he’s had a Hall of Fame career, but the next thing you know, they’ll be counting his high-school hits.

I don’t think you’re going to find anybody with credibility say that Japanese baseball is equivalent to Major League Baseball. 

Despite his insistence to the contrary, Rose is clearly trying to take something away from Ichiro. Namely, the legitimacy of his NPB hits.

And, indeed, NPB-to-MLB is far from an apples-to-apples comparison.

Many players who struggled stateside have gone on to dominate in Japan. In his USA Today interview, Rose cited Tuffy Rhodes, a career .224 hitter in parts of six big league seasons who hit a then-record-tying 55 home runs for NPB’s Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes in 2001.

There have also been accusations from American players that Japanese umpires tend to favor local stars.

“I was always pitching to a smaller strike zone,” Ryan Vogelsong said of his time in NPB, per Eno Sarris, writing for FoxSports.com. “That’s just the way it is. It’s the unwritten rule of baseball there: The foreigner’s strike zone is going to be smaller.”

Maybe Ichiro benefited from less robust competition and friendly umps. At the same time, to dismiss NPB’s talent out of hand is patently unfair.

Just look at the list of pitchers—from Hideo Nomo to Masahiro Tanaka—who have crossed the Pacific and baffled big league hitters. That’s the cream of the crop, granted, but it’s some pretty sweet cream. And MLB features its share of mediocre fifth starters and gas-can middle relievers. 

Plus, as Ichiro pointed out, there are disadvantages in NPB when it comes to compiling counting stats.

“When I think about it, if somebody was to pass Pete Rose’s record just playing in Japan, that would be a bigger accomplishment because of the few games they play over there,” Ichiro said, per Nightengale. “We play more games here. So for somebody to pass Pete Rose just playing baseball games in Japan would be unbelievable.”

Sure enough, Ichiro surpassed 600 plate appearances in just four of his nine seasons with the Orix Blue Wave. And he reached 4,257 hits in 14,339 plate appearances spread over 25 professional seasons compared to Rose’s 15,890 career plate appearances in 24 seasons. 

A 27-year-old Ichiro made his major league debut in 2001 with the Seattle Mariners and rapped out an MLB-leading 242 hits, becoming just the second player in history to win Rookie of the Year and MVP honors in the same season.

Imagine if he arrived at age 22 instead. An extra five years of 200-plus-hit production would put him within shouting distance of Rose. And based on his current production—he’s hitting .349 after Wednesday’s game—it appears the 42-year-old could stay productive in a part-time role for another few seasons. 

Those are what-ifs that we’ll never answer definitively. We know Ichiro is a first-ballot Hall of Famer. We know he’s one of the greatest hitters of this or any generation.

We also know he’ll never have as many MLB hits as Rose. So there will always be debate.

The other piece of this puzzle, of course, is Rose’s troubled place in baseball history. Recent attempts at redemption aside, Charlie Hustle remains a HOF pariahforever stained by the gambling scandal that tarnished his legacy and got him banned from the game.

Ichiro, meanwhile, is a slender contact hitter who did the bulk of his damage during the steroid era. In that sense, he’s the anti-Rose: A man who stood in stark contrast to the controversy of his day.

It’s easy to favor Ichiro over Rose from an optics standpoint. He’s a cleaner, neater hero and a symbol of baseball’s international appeal to boot.

In the end, the easiest and purest way to celebrate Ichiro’s achievement is to view it as one of a kind. No one has done what Rose did, and maybe no one ever will. But no one has done what Ichiro did either, and his NPB/MLB hits record is probably just as unassailable.

“These discussions are part of why we love baseball,” MLB.com’s Richard Justice wrote after Ichiro rapped out No. 4,257. “Numbers can be interpreted, dissected, turned this way and that. In the end, though, there’s Pete Rose, and there’s everyone else.”

Fair enough. Ichiro, though, also belongs in a class by himself—and he’s not done yet.


All statistics current as of June 15 and courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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Ichiro Suzuki Passes Pete Rose for Most Career Hits: Latest Comments, Reaction

Miami Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki tied and then passed Pete Rose for the all-time hits record in professional baseball with two knocks in Wednesday’s game against the San Diego Padres.

Suzuki led off the top of the first inning at Petco Park with a base hit off Luis Perdomo and then came around to score on a Christian Yelich single. The 42-year-old moved his professional hits total to 4,256 with that single, tying Rose, as the Miami Herald‘s Clark Spencer noted. Suzuki picked up 1,278 of those hits in Japan.

In the ninth inning, Suzuki doubled, passing Rose with his 4,257th hit, and MLB commemorated the achievement afterward:

When asked about Ichiro’s pursuit of his milestone, Rose seemed dismissive of the feat because of the diminished level of competition Suzuki faced early in his career, per USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale:

I don’t think you’re going to find anybody with credibility say that Japanese baseball is equivalent to Major League Baseball. There are too many guys that fail here, and then become household names there, like Tuffy Rhodes. How can he not do anything here, and hit (a record-tying) 55 home runs (in 2001) over there? It has something to do with the caliber of personnel.

Whatever the merit of his accomplishments overseas, Ichiro has lived up to and even exceeded the hype that accompanied him when he made his MLB transition in 2001.

Ichiro led the American League in hits seven times and is a two-time AL batting champion. He strung together 10 consecutive seasons of 200 hits or more—the same number Rose achieved in his career.

It’s intriguing to imagine what would’ve happened had Ichiro begun his pro career stateside. He may have challenged Rose’s MLB mark. Instead, his achievement of passing Rose in overall hits likely won’t leave much of an impression on most baseball fans.

That being said, Ichiro’s performance Wednesday gave him 2,979 MLB hits. With 21 more hits, he’ll become the 30th player to reach the 3,000-hit mark.

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Pete Rose Comments on Ichiro Suzuki Possibly Breaking Hits Record

As Ichiro Suzuki approaches the hallowed number of 4,256 career hits, Pete Rose does not sound like a man ready to abdicate his throne as baseball’s all-time hits king.

“It sounds like in Japan,’’ Rose told USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, “they’re trying to make me the Hit Queen. I’m not trying to take anything away from Ichiro, he’s had a Hall of Fame career, but the next thing you know, they’ll be counting his high school hits.”

Suzuki, playing for the Miami Marlins in his 16th MLB season, enters Tuesday night’s game against the San Diego Padres with 4,255 career hits. He’s recorded 2,977 hits in MLB and had 1,278 in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league before coming stateside. 

Rose said Suzuki’s accomplishment cannot be seen in the same light due to NPB’s competition level.

“I don’t think you’re going to find anybody with credibility say that Japanese baseball is equivalent to Major League Baseball,” Rose said. “There are too many guys that fail here, and then become household names there, like Tuffy Rhodes. How can he not do anything here, and hit (a record-tying) 55 home runs (in 2001) over there? It has something to do with the caliber of personnel.”

It is true MLB will not acknowledge Suzuki as the sport’s all-time hit king after he records the two more hits necessary to pass Rose. The former Cincinnati Reds star, banned from the sport and Hall of Fame due to gambling on baseball during his managerial career, will maintain the record.

Since his ban, Rose has created a cottage industry around his hit-king moniker. His website’s tagline is “Home of the Hit King,” and Rose actively promotes himself as such when making appearances at card shows and other events. To put it another way, Rose stands to make money by keeping his record in as high esteem as possible.

Suzuki, who is hitting a remarkable .350 this season at age 42, refused to delve into the situation.

“I would be happy if people covered it or wrote about it,’’ Suzuki said, per Nightengale, “but I really would not care if it wasn’t a big deal. To be quite honest, I’m just going out and doing what I do. What I care about is my teammates and people close to me celebrating it together, that’s what’s most important to me.”

What can be acknowledged is it’s incredible Suzuki has had this level of longevity. He was 27 years old when he made his MLB debut. He spent a majority of his athletic prime in Japan, where he became a renowned superstar but carried the skepticism of someone who could only star in the “minor” leagues.

Suzuki blasted that narrative immediately, winning the AL Rookie of the Year and MVP in 2001 with the Seattle Mariners. He led the AL in hits seven times, won two batting titles and broke the all-time record for hits in a season (262) in 2004.

And Suzuki has three separate campaigns in which he recorded more hits than Rose’s career high of 230.


Follow Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) on Twitter.

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Ichiro Suzuki Draws Within 50 Hits of 3,000 for Career

Miami Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki collected a pinch-hit single during the eighth inning of Wednesday’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies, bumping him up to 2,950 hits for his career.

Even more impressive, Suzuki started his career in Japan at the age of 18, playing nine seasons with Orix of the Japan Pacific League before finally joining MLB in 2001 as a 27-year-old with the Seattle Mariners. 

As a rookie, he led the league in hits (242), stolen bases (56) and batting average (.350), earning not only an American League Rookie of the Year award but also AL MVP honors. He even took home the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards and was named as a starter for the All-Star Game.

Suzuki’s first season started an incredible run of individual achievements, including 10 straight All-Star Game appearances and 10 straight Gold Gloves as well as three Silver Slugger awards.

Although there isn’t much left to accomplish, the future Hall of Famer could top off his career by becoming the 30th member of the 3,000-hit club.

Of course, Suzuki also had 1,278 hits in Japan, with his combined total of 4,228 sitting just 28 shy of Pete Rose’s all-time MLB record (4,256).

Suzuki did face easier competition in Japan, but with schedules consisting of just 144 games, he never recorded more than 546 at-bats or 210 hits in a single year.

In comparison, he topped 675 at-bats in nine of his 11 full seasons with the Mariners, including a 2004 campaign that saw him log 704 at-bats and an MLB-record 262 hits while playing 161 games.

It’s still not clear if Suzuki will reach 3,000 career MLB hits, as he only has 15 in 46 at-bats (.326 average) through the first 40 games of Miami’s season, having started in just seven of his 30 appearances.

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