The New York Yankees’ outfielder, Ichiro Suzuki, reaches an amazing plateau last night.
With a single to left field, Ichiro had his 4,000th hit of his professional career. That’s a number that has only been accomplished in Major League Baseball by two individuals, Pete Rose and Ty Cobb. The problem is, Ichiro did not reach that level in the big leagues.
The 4,000 hits of Ichiro’s professional career span his time in Japan as well as his time in Major League Baseball. When you combine his 2,722 hits in his MLB career with his 1,278 hits in Japan, Ichiro has reached that mystical 4,000 hit mark. When you look at it that way, and The Hall Of Very Good did just that here, Ichiro is not the third man to reach that number. He’s the seventh.
There are some names of importance and some names that beg the question “Who?”, but most importantly to Cardinal fans, there’s a name of historical proportions.
Stan “The Man” Musial had 4,001 hits in his professional career.
That’s a career that started with three minor league seasons as a pitcher before moving to the outfield. It’s a career that saw an entire season lost while he served his country proudly in World War II.
One of the game’s greatest hitters, and the Cardinals’ greatest ever, achieved 4,001 hits in his career while spending four seasons not hitting.
It is hard to say what Musial would have achieved with those four seasons back. Even harder to predict what he would have done in today’s environment. None of this is to say that Ichiro is anything less than a Hall Of Fame outfielder. Maybe it’s to say just how good he has been.
With his next hit, Ichiro will tie Stan Musial for number of hits in a professional career.
That is the epitome of elite company.