Ichiro Suzuki collects his 4,000th professional hit

Ichiro Suzuki now has 4,000 hits in his professional career. He now has 2,722 hits in his Major League career as well. He joins Pete Rose and Ty Cobb as the only players with at least 4,000 hits.

     Of course, his total includes his hits from Japan. I think there is a strong case for including the hits though. Although pitchers in Japan are not quite as good as the ones in MLB, the strike zone is larger and the baseball they use is slightly smaller. We can all agree that those two things make it a decent bit harder to hit. The stadiums that they play in are a little smaller too, which would be beneficial to a home run hitter, but not to a contact hitter like Ichiro. The outfielders in Japan have smaller ground to cover.

     The last reason is that in Nippon Professional Baseball, each season is only 135 games. Ichiro played seven seasons as a starter in Japan. This means he would have had up to 189 more games to play if he had played in America. This would mean an additional 150-250 hits, easily putting him up there with Rose and Cobb. Add in the fact that Ichiro played better overall in MLB, and there is no reason why we can't say that Ichiro has 4,000 hits. He is one of the greatest of all time and possibly the greatest contact hitter of all time (aside from Ty Cobb maybe).

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