The Asian Baseball Research Committee of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) proudly salutes New York Yankee outfielder Ichiro Suzuki on achieving milestone hit 4,000 in his international professional baseball career.
“Since his MLB debut in 2001 Ichiro’s disciplined, zen approach to hitting has thrilled fans, earned the respect of his peers, and established his place in baseball history as one of the game’s greatest hitters,” said Bill Staples Jr., chairman of the SABR Asian Baseball Committee (http://research.sabr.org/asianbb).
Despite the fact that sports historians and writers have debated the significance of Ichiro’s combined career hits on both sides of the Pacific, his 4,000 hits is an incredible record worth appreciating.
- Related link: Scott Simkus reminds us that Minnie Minoso deserves to be recognized on any list of 4,000 professional hits, too
Pete Rose (4,256) and Ty Cobb (4,189) are the only players in MLB history to reach 4,000 hits. However, some say that if Ichiro’s statistics in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) are considered, then minor-league statistics should be included as well. MLB.com writer Bryan Hoch points out that only six players would reach the 4,000 hit milestone with the inclusion of “minor-league” stats:
- Pete Rose – 4,683 (4,257 MLB + 427 minors)
- Ty Cobb – 4,355 (4,189 MLB + 166 minors)
- Hank Aaron – 4,095 ( 3,771 MLB + 324 minors)
- Jigger Statz – 4,093 (737 MLB + 3,356 Pacific Coast League)
- Stan Musial – 4,001 (3,630 MLB + 371 minors)
- Ichiro Suzuki – 4,000 (2,722 MLB + 1,278 NPB)
Teammate Derek Jeter said, “That’s a lot of hits, man. It’s pretty impressive … It shows how consistent he’s been throughout his career. It makes you look at how many hits he’s got here [in MLB] in a short amount of time. That’s difficult to do, so Ichi has been as consistent as anyone.”
In his first 10 MLB seasons, the left-handed hitter from Japan achieved more hits than any other player in MLB history. Ichiro had 2,244; Rose had 1,922; and Cobb had 1,727. If he extends his playing career to age 45 like Rose did, he has the potential to achieve MLB career hit 3,406, which would surpass Rose’s combined career hit total of 4,683 and earn Ichiro the “Global Hit King” title.
Even if Suzuki does not beat Rose’s combined career hit total, he has already proven himself as one of the game’s all-time greats and worthy of a plaque in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.
His impressive career includes the following achievements:
Major League Baseball (MLB):
- 10× MLB All-Star (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
- 10× Gold Glove Award (2001–2010)
- 3× Silver Slugger Award (2001, 2007, 2009)
- 2× AL batting champion (2001, 2004)
- AL MVP (2001)
- AL Rookie of the Year (2001)
- Highest Batting Average for ROY Winner (.350, appearing in 100+ games)
- AL stolen base leader (2001)
- Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award (2005)
- MLB All-Star Game MVP (2007)
- MLB Record: 262 hits, single season
- MLB Record: 225 singles, single season
- MLB Record: Most hits in 10 seasons (2,244)
Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB):
- 7× NPB All-Star (1994–2000)
- 3× PL MVP (1994–1996)
- 7× Golden Glove Award (1994–2000)
- 7× Best Nine Award (1994–2000)
- 3× Matsutaro Shoriki Award (1994–1995, 2004)
- 3× Japan Professional Sports Grand Prize (1994–1995, 2001)
- 7× PL Batting Champion (1994–2000)
- 5× PL Safe Hit Champion (1994–1998)
- 5× PL On-base Champion (1994–1996, 1999–2000)
- 1995 PL Stolen Base Champion
- 1995 PL RBI Champion
- Japan Series Champion (1996)
World Baseball Classic (WBC):
- 2x Champion (2006, 2009)
About The SABR Asian Baseball Committee
The Asian Baseball Committee (ABC) of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) was founded to: 1) Research, preserve and share the long history of interaction between American and Asian baseball; 2) Foster a sense of community among those with a shared passion for Asian Baseball; 3) Introduce Asian baseball to the North American public; and 4) Serve as a valuable resource for those seeking more information about Asian Baseball. To learn more, visit: http://research.sabr.org/asianbb.
Originally published: August 21, 2013. Last Updated: August 21, 2013.