Let’s Talk: Ichiro Hit Number 4, 257 

Today, Ichiro Suzuki made history by tying and breaking Pete Rose’s hits record. 

With a single in the first inning of the Miami Marlins vs San Diego Padres game, Suzuki hit a single and tied Rose with hit number 2,256. Then in the ninth inning he doubled which was hit number 2,257. 
Unlike Rose, Ichiro’s hits span between the years he spent playing in Japan and his MLB seasons. 1, 278 hits are from Japan and the other 2,979 came in the MLB. That’s where the controversy comes into play. 

Pete Rose has even commented on the subject in the only way he could. In an interview with USA Today these were his comments: 
“It sounds like in Japan, they’re trying to make me the Hit Queen,” Rose said. “I’m not trying to take anything away from Ichiro — he’s had a Hall of Fame career — but the next thing you know, they’ll be counting his high school hits.I don’t think you’re going to find anybody with credibility say that Japanese baseball is equivalent to Major League Baseball. There are too many guys that fail here and then become household names there, like Tuffy Rhodes. How can he not do anything here and hit [a record-tying] 55 home runs [in 2001] over there? It has something to do with the caliber of personnel.”

So, we took it to social media and asked the question, should his hits from Japan count? 

Lander University baseball player, Reed Gray had this to say about the record: “Hits are hits and hitting isn’t an easy thing to do but I don’t think his hits in Japan should count towards the hit total. Pete rose who will never be in the hall of fame accomplished such a great thing did it all against the toughest competition. Rose > Ichiro.” 

Nathaniel Cooke Jr, @mrurbansports response was: “Pete Rose is the hit King in USA baseball.” 

Lucas said, “I agree with Pete Rose. I believe that Ichiro is an incredible hitter. If he played his entire career in the majors he possibly could have eclipsed Roses record. But unfortunately the Japanese league is slightly less competitive, therefore they should not count. When Ichiro goes to the HOF it should be noted.” 

Each has their valid points. I took Rose’s comments in a different way at first. Rose is a person that will never be in the Hall of Fame. His record though, is in the Hall of Fame. For his record to be broke means something different to him. In a way, he may see it as his legacy, in which it is. Most remember him for the gambling he did not that he is the “hits king.” He should actually be lucky the didn’t strip his hits during the time he got gambling. But, back to Ichiro, he will be in the MLB Hall of Fame with or without the record. Things should be by country you played in. Each country should have their all time hits leader and then there should be a list of all the countries totaled together with a list of criteria they have meet to qualify for the overall list. Each country’s baseball team is professional no matter who says that a certain country isn’t less competitive than others. This milestone should be recognized though. No matter where his hits came from, that’s a lot of hits. Especially at a professional level. Not many will ever reach this. MLB, Japan, and all baseball leagues should celebrate this together. In a way, it does bring countries together not just because his hits came in two counties but for the love of the game. 

One thing people have honestly failed to realize as well is the fact that Ichiro is closing in on 3,000 hits in the MLB alone. Not in Japan. 

No matter what anyone says, we have to congratulate Ichiro Suzuki on a milestone in an amazing career. 

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