In Major League Baseball history, there are only 29 players to enter the 3,000th hit club with the most recent player being Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees. However, a 30th player could soon be getting the huge milestone, Ichiro Suzuki.
The Miami Marlins picked up a 6-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals and it could be a sneak peek of a wild-card game later this year, but there’s a bigger story than a possible postseason berth for the Marlins. Ichiro went 3-for-4 with an RBI double that puts him at six hits shy of 3,000 with 2,994 hits.
Suzuki made his MLB debut with the Seattle Mariners in 2001 at the age of 27, so his ability to reach 3,000 hits is incredible. Before coming to the United States to play professional baseball, he picked up 1,278 hits in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league. If you combine his hits from both leagues, he surpasses the all-time hit king Pete Rose. Rose was upset that Suzuki’s Japanese hits were even mentioned, and at the end of the day, it was likely just a PR move by Major League Baseball to find a way to market Ichiro in what could be his final season. It doesn’t hurt, too, that Rose remains persona non grata with the league.
It will be interesting to see how the Marlins play Ichiro in their lineup going forward. They have one more road series (four games) this week against the Philadelphia Phillies before they head back home for a 10-game homestand. It would be great for Marlins fans to watch Ichiro achieve the milestone at home. The last two 3,000 hit players, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, hit home runs at Yankee Stadium. Can Ichiro match them as well? Maybe one up them with a grand slam? It’ll be fun to see what he can accomplish for his milestone, but regardless of how he achieves it, Ichiro Suzuki is, without a doubt, a Hall of Fame player.