Tomlinson: Ichiro, still connecting as he nears 3,000 hits

From Tommy Tomlinson at on July 19, 2016:

The players gathered in the back of the Miami Marlins’ team plane, and somebody started pouring champagne.

Martin Prado, the veteran third baseman, led the toast. He turned to Ichiro Suzuki and said: I’m proud of you. We’re all proud of you.

That afternoon, June 15, in the ninth inning against the San Diego Padres, Ichiro had lined a double into the right-field corner for his 4,257th professional hit. Pete Rose, the major leagues’ all-time hits leader, finished his career with 4,256. Ichiro got his first 1,278 hits in Japan, so, in the MLB record books, Rose’s record survives. Still, Ichiro’s hit meant something: a milepost in one of baseball’s great careers, a connection across countries and cultures and leagues, a line drive that carried an ocean.

Back in Japan, where it was already morning the next day, newspapers started printing special editions for rush hour. In San Diego, the fans gave him a standing ovation. Ichiro tipped his helmet to the crowd, revealing a brush cut of gray hair.

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Originally published: July 19, 2016. Last Updated: July 19, 2016.