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April 17, 2009

Ichiro...the new hit king?

Like he has so many times before, Ichiro Suzuki slapped a single through the right side of the infield. Pretty routine if you think about it…but the historical significance was huge.

With that hit, Ichiro surpassed Isao Harimoto and became the all-time leader among Japanese baseball players.

But here’s the big question, how do we look at Ichiro’s 3086 (1808 in the states…1278 in Japan) hits?

When we talk about “great hitters”, do we place him between Craig Biggio (3060) and Dave Winfield (3110) or look solely at his MLB numbers?

As a for instance, I’ve NEVER heard anyone add Hank Aaron or Willie Mays’ Negro League totals to their MLB totals. Have you?

So, what is Ichiro to you? Is he the all-time Japanese hit leader with 3086 base knocks or the all-time hit leader among Japanese born MLB players with 1808 hits?

Maybe he’s both.

Any way you slice it (and I said this last August), I’m sure he’s opening Cooperstown’s doors to some of the other Japanese greats.

BallHype: hype it up!


joelkirstein said...

It's a tough call but I believe that since his MLB totals are greater than his Japanese league totals, he will make it into Cooperstown as a trail blazer, not unlike many of the great Negro League players such as Cool Papa Bell, Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige. The fact Itchiro has proven to be more than just a one-dimensional ball player works in his favor and his level of consistency also augers well for him...

Jesus Melendez said...

All-Star games, Gold Gloves, 200+ hit seasons and a .300+ average in all eigth of his eight seasons makes him a lock for me.

Anonymous said...

I think it is the record of the Japanese Baseball Player, not the record of Japan Baseball record. So I suppose we don't have to add two league record except we talk about Japanese baseball player.

But I believe his 8 continuous years 200+ hit record should be deserved as one major league baseball player.

It is the comment by one Japanese.

JB said...

I am hoping he plays 6+ more years and gets his 3000 hits to end any controversy. HOF'er indeed, both sides of the Pacific.
Great point, anonymous. I don't believe you can combine his MLB/Japanese league totals to make one number. It would not be fair to those players who paved the way in Japan, before Ichiro - as it would be unfair to count those same hits against MLB'er's who played before him in the States. He will go down as one of the best leadoff hitters ever, both leagues.

Stephen said...

Pro Baseball is Pro Baseball. The Negro league was in a time when race was still a factor. They should count the totals from the Negro league as well as Ichiro's Japan totals. After all...Ichirois the best all around baseball player ever to step foot on the field.