Ichiro Suzuki current New York Yankees outfielder and former Seattle Mariners superstar is about to hit a career milestone that not many people will ever get to boast about. Ichiro, as of Saturday, is 5 hits away from hitting his 4000th career professional hit. He has 1 278 hits in the Nippon Professional baseball league with the Orix Buffaloes, and currently has 2717 hits in the MLB.
Only two players in Major League Baseball have hit more than 4000 hits – Ty Cobb at 4189 and the all-time leader in hits, Pete Rose, with 4256. Both players played 24 MLB seasons to get these numbers. Derek Jeter is currently the closest active MLB player to 4000 hits with 3308, but at the age of 39 and nagging injuries the chances of getting close to that milestone is almost a pipedream.
Some of you might feel that this isn’t a real milestone and that it doesn’t count because he didn’t get all of these hits in the MLB. If you feel that way then just stop reading now, because I do believe this is a fantastic milestone and Ichiro deserves the attention. He is arguably one of the best contact hitters from Japan and certainly one of the fastest players to come over to the Majors.
In 13 seasons he has scored 1248 times, as mentioned above had 2717 hits and stole 469 bases. He is a 10-time MLB All-Star, 10 time Gold Glove winner, 3 time Silver Slugger, 2-time AL batting champion, 2001 AL MVP, AL Rookie of the year, AL Stolen base leader (2001), MLB All-Star MPV (2007) and he holds the MLB record for most hits in a season at 262 and most singles hit in a single season at 225. Quite the list!
Ichiro is for sure a living legend; I was fortunate enough to have seen him live in 2005 with the Mariners in Toronto against the Jays. Ichiro went 2-4 with a run scored and a stolen base; I have never seen someone run the bases so fast – it was amazing. In a league where there have been many PED scandals, “tainted” records and a lot of distrust among people, players like Ichiro give the league a chance to showcase natural talent.
He is one of the greats and will definitely make the Hall of Fame in the first year he is eligible, but for now he is still playing and I think he has a chance to reach 3000 hits in the Majors if he plays just a few more seasons. I am not a big fan of the New York Yankees and it took a while for me to get used to seeing him in pinstripes, but no matter what the uniform or team he is playing for, we know we are watching a great player.
For now we shall wait for Ichiro to hit his 4000th pro hit and when he does I hope he gets a loud ovation and the credit he deserves. He is truly a one of a kind ball player and we are lucky that many of us have gotten to see him play over the years. Good Luck, Ichiro, and congratulations. You deserve it.
Feel Free to leave comments below. You can follow me on twitter @NVincelli, and follow the baseball department on twitter @LastWordMatt, and @lastwordmark. While you are at it you can follow the site @lastwordonsport.
Interested in writing for LastWordOnSports? Find more info at our “Join Our Team” page.
Main photo credit: Erik Daniel Drost via photopin cc