Seattle slugger Ichiro Suzuki recorded career hit No. 2,500 Tuesday night.
During another four-hit game for Ichiro, amidst a downtrodden season for the perennial all-star, he made history by reaching the plateau faster than any player (1,817 games) since 1936. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Al Simmons reached the milestone in 1,784 games.
“I’ve broken many records over the past 12 years,” he told the Seattle Times, through interpreter Antony Suzuki. “But now, if you look at me when I first got here in 2001, if I’d said on my first day that my goal was to hit 2,500, people would have said I was crazy.
Prior to joining Seattle in 2001, Ichiro played nine seasons for the Orix Blue Wave in Japan. He compiled 1,278 hits and had a .353 career average. Of course if you combine his hits from Japan and the major leagues he has 3,781, not far from that mighty number of 4,256 that Pete Rose compiled. The record only applies to major league hits, however.
Ichiro, who is hitting .265 in 2012 and hit a career-low .272 in 2011, is a free agent after this season and, according to a report in Sporting News, has no plans to retire.
At 38 years old and a desire to continue playing, you’d have to expect him to reach the 3,000-hit plateau at some point before he retires. Of the 28 players who have reached that milestone, three are not in the hall of fame: Derek Jeter (still playing), Craig Biggio (lock for HOF) and Rafael Palmeiro.
The only active players with more career hits than Ichiro right now are Derek Jeter, Omar Vizquel, Alex Rodriguez, Johnny Damon and Chipper Jones.
-Chris R. Vaccaro