Ichiro Earns Place in History Books
Miami Marlins veteran outfielder Ichiro Suzuki secured himself in baseball history with two hits against the San Diego Padres, passing Pete Rose‘s long-standing record for all-time hits in the professional ranks. Sitting on 4,254 hits heading into this game, the 42-year-old added another brace to his tally to take himself ahead of Rose in the standings, as well as continuing his remarkable form this season. But even though Ichiro can now claim to be the record hit holder in professional baseball, the fact that 1,278 of his 2,356 hits came during his time in Japan has perhaps taken some shine away from the outfielder’s achievements in the eyes of some.
Despite being written off by many when he made the move to Miami last year, Ichiro has showed he isn’t quite finished yet, remaining an important part of the Marlins roster. Before his two hits against the Padres, the Japanese star had been one of the most consistent hitters in this Miami team as well as maintaining a solid defensive record. In his seven previous outings before the San Diego game, the veteran had multi-hit games in six of them, going for a combined 15 for 32 at .469 – despite playing in what is his 17th season in the majors and his 26th overall.
Arriving in the MLB amid that unique hype that followed players making the move to the USA from Japan at the turn of the millennium, Ichiro has more than lived up to the expectation. Having established himself as one of the most exciting players from outside the MLB, Ichiro finally moved to the States in 2001 with the Seattle Mariners. During his time with the Mariners, the New York Yankees and now the Marlins, the Japan international led the American League in hits on seven occasions, earning the AL batting champion honours twice and stringing together 10 consecutive seasons of 200 hits or more.
Currently with 2,979 MLB hits, Ichiro knows that 21 more hits would see him become only the 30th man in history to reach 3,000 hits in the majors. The question now is just how long the veteran can go on for. With Miami facing an uphill battle to secure a place in the playoffs for the first time under their current guise (18/1 at the time of writing with the latest baseball odds to top the National League East) it’s hard to see how Ichiro will get to taste a postseason again.
The 10-time All Star has only appeared in the playoffs twice during his time in the MLB, with Seattle on both occasions, and it seems almost unfair that Ichiro won’t get another crack at the World Series before he hangs up his glove. Having signed a new one-year contract last season, Ichiro has so far only committed himself to the franchise for the 2016 campaign – although there is the option for another season should Miami decide to take it up. Based on his current form, it’s not hard to see a situation where the Japanese superstar returns to the league again next year.