Friday, September 24, 2010

Is Ichiro the greatest hitter in MLB history?

By Greg

Single season hits record? Check. Record for consecutive 200-hit seasons? Check. Most hits in MLB history? Well, that one might even be unattainable for Ichiro.

Ichiro currently has 2,230 career hits in his Major League Baseball career. However, in the Japanese League he had 1,278 hits. Now let’s be serious here. The Japanese League (NBP) is roughly the equivalent to AAA baseball in America. They stress fundamentals and sound fielding, but they lack power arms and bats. Nevertheless, this still shows the immense talent that Ichiro displayed in another league from the ages of 20 to 26. Here are Ichiro’s batting averages during this time: .385, .342, .356, .345, .358, .343, .387. Talk about absolutely annihilating pitchers. I don’t care what league you’re in. If your lowest average in a seven year period is .342, you are a special hitter.

The current all time hit leader, Pete Rose, started his MLB career at the age of 22. If Ichiro started his career in America at this age I think he would be sitting at approximately 3,200 hits, putting him in a legitimate position to break the record of 4,256 hits.

Hits through 1578 games:
Ichiro Suzuki.....2,230 (36 years old)
Ty Cobb............2,176 (30 years old)
Pete Rose.........1,974 (32 years old)

Ichiro acknowledges the crowd at the Rogers Centre in Toronto after collecting his 200th hit of the season.

Most 200-hit seasons in MLB history:
Ichiro Suzuki.......10
Pete Rose...........10
Ty Cobb...............9
Lou Gehrig...........8
Willie Keeler........8
Paul Waner..........8

Ichiro actually broke the record for most consecutive 200-hit seasons last year (Wee Willie Keeler had eight straight from 1894-1901). I hope that gives some perspective on this achievement since the first ever World Series took place two years after Keeler retired. Meanwhile, Rose’s and Cobb’s career each lasted 24 seasons. Why isn't Tim Kurkjian breaking the sound barrier with his obnoxious voice over this accomplishment?!?!

Ichiro is a perfect 10 for 10 and it’s probably the most impressive feat in MLB this century! Furthermore, I have confidence that he’ll hit another 200 next year and maybe even the year after that. Possibly even more impressive is the fact that the Mariners are challenging the Pittsburgh Pirates for the number one selection in the 2011 MLB entry draft and Ichiro just keeps hitting like he’s in a pennant race.

When people look back on the decade of 2000-2009, I think they will separate four hitters from the rest of the pack. These are the first ballot Hall of Famers* that really differentiated themselves from the rest of MLB hitters. In my opinion Albert Pujols, Ichiro Suzuki, Alex Rodriguez* and Derek Jeter are in a class of their own.

I don’t think this is anything new to baseball fans, but I’d like to see Ichiro get a little more attention for a major accomplishment than the fourth biggest headline on ESPN’s homepage.

Incubus – Turning Japanese


  1. How could you leave out Jose Tabata?!

  2. I expect better out of you Rickel. At least go with Jason Kendall or Brian Giles. Tabata didn't have a Major League at bat during that decade.

  3. I kinda missed that you stopped at 2009. My bad. I feel shame.

  4. Hahaha understandable. I wanted to make my "all-decade" team. Does Tabata have a chance to be in the next "all-decade" team? Only time will tell. But I'm pretty sure the answer is no.