To have 200 hits in a season is an accomplishment that many professional baseball players will never achieve. Currently, there is only a couple of dozen active players to reach that milestone, and for many, to put together that many hits in a season might be the greatest season of a player’s career. To achieve multiple seasons above the 200-hit mark is pretty much resume material for the Hall of Fame. With that being said, Wednesday, the Seattle Mariners’ center fielder Ichiro Suzuki all but guaranteed himself a spot in Cooperstown after his playing days come to a close.
Suzuki reached the 200-hit mark this season with a single in the fith inning Wednesday against Shawn Hill of the Toronto Blue Jays. This makes 10 straight seasons with 200 hits for Ichiro. Only Pete Rose has accomplished that feat as many times, but it took Charlie Hustle 17 years to reach the feat 10 times.
Ichiro Suzuki has only been in the league for 10 years, and he’s accomplished it in nearly half the time it took Rose. Keep in mind, Pete Rose is the player that many – at least those that can overlook his faults – would consider one of the greatest hitters the game has ever seen.
Naysayers will point to Ichiro’s eight seasons playing in Japan as an asterisk to the argument that Suzuki could be the best hitter that Major League Baseball has ever seen. With a career average of .331, it’s hard to deny his abilities at the plate are above and beyond most players the game has seen. If you take into account that he’s led the league in hits for six of his ten years in the league as well as his consistency, then there are valid points to placing his name alongside the greats like Rose, Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron and Stan Musial.
Not to mention the fact that he’s played his entire career in Seattle, where there has been a substantial lack of offense. Staying out of the black hole that seems to swallow the batting skills of other players that have put on the M’s jersey hasn’t seemed to distract Ichiro from becoming one of the best hitters the game has ever seen.
At his current pace, if he plays until he’s 45 like Pete Rose did, he would surpass Rose’s all-time record of 4,256 hits, ironically by about 200 hits.