Gleeman: The best day to start hitting

From SABR member Aaron Gleeman at Baseball Prospectus on May 9, 2018:

Albert Pujols made his MLB debut on Opening Day of the 2001 season, playing left field and batting sixth for the Cardinals on the road against the Rockies. Five hours later and 1,300 miles away, Ichiro Suzuki debuted in Seattle, leading off and playing right field against the A’s. That day Pujols had one hit and Ichiro had two hits, and … well, you know the rest. They were named Rookie of the Year winners for their respective leagues—with Ichiro also winning MVP of the American League, while Pujols finished fourth in the National League voting—and both went on to be 10-time All-Stars.

April 2, 2001 was a helluva day to start a hitting career.

Last week, about 18 years and one month later, the future Hall of Famers were again linked in greatness. Ichiro announced his retirement last Thursday, transitioning into a front office role with the Mariners following a career in which he totaled 3,089 hits in America and 1,278 hits in Japan. The very next day, Pujols joined Ichiro in the 3,000-hit club. And not only did Pujols get his 3,000th hit while playing against the Mariners, in Seattle, it was a soft liner into Ichiro’s old home in right field. (If the 2001 version of Ichiro had been in right field, he may have tried to throw out the 2018 version of Pujols at first base.)

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Originally published: May 9, 2018. Last Updated: May 9, 2018.