Ichiro Suzuki’s 4,000th hit will be a milestone to celebrate The…

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Ichiro Suzuki’s 4,000th hit be a milestone to celebrate

Ichiro enters Tuesday three away from 4,000 in his career. (AP)

Sometime the Yankees’ Ichiro Suzuki collect his 4,000th hit in professional He got 1,278 hits in the Japanese League and had 2,719 in Major Baseball entering Tuesday’s against the Blue Jays, him just three hits from the milestone. His current of play is not what it once but even if one regards his accomplishments in separately from those in it constitutes a remarkable achievement for the rightfielder.

Ichiro spent full seasons (1994-2000) and of two others (1992-1993) playing for the BlueWave in Nippon Professional debuting as an 18-year-old and becoming a staple at 20. In fact, despite his manager’s initial resistance to his swing with its high leg he set an NPB record and won a batting title in first full year, 210 hits in a 130-game season, with a .385 average, and the first of three straight MVP

Ichiro thoroughly dominated his time in Japan, hitting a .353/.416/.522 (the most statistical record of his time in the is here ), winning batting and earning All-Star honors and Gloves in each of his seven seasons. Because Orix was through a rebuilding process, the allowed him to head to MLB via the posting — in which teams bid for the right to with a foreign player — in one year before he reached agency. The Mariners, who had lost Johnson, Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex over the previous three and needed a new star attraction, won his by bidding $13.125 million, signed him to a three-year contract $14.088 million.

That worked out pretty to say the least. In his first year the 27-year-old Ichiro led the majors 242 hits and 56 steals, won the AL batting by hitting .350 and posted a on-base percentage and a .457 percentage. He not only won the AL Rookie of the award — as a first-year major he was eligible — but the MVP trophy as well helping Seattle win an AL-record 116 though the M’s were ousted by the in the AL Championship Series.

That also began a decade-long of All-Star and Gold Glove for Ichiro, not to mention 200-hit and .300 averages. In 2004, he George Sisler’s single-season by collecting a staggering 262 and won his second title with a .372/.414/.455 His power never fully from Japan; he reached digits in home runs three times, with a of 15 in 2005.

Nonetheless, his slashing, slap-hitting made for a wonderfully entertaining to an earlier style of baseball, a contrast in an era of musclebound sluggers.

Not 2011, when he hit .272/.310/.335, did his fall off significantly, largely due to a against lefthanded pitching. July 23, with his five-year, $90 contract set to expire and the Mariners to rebuild, he accepted a trade to the — just prior to a series them at Safeco Field, no Hitting a dismal .261/.288/.353 Seattle, his bat nonetheless sprang to upon donning the pinstripes.

He .322/.340/.454 over the final 67 of the season, helping New York win AL East title. Surprisingly, the re-signed him to a two-year, $13 million one that didn’t look wise from a pure perspective but hasn’t been as bad as his line suggests. Thanks to his (+12 runs according to Runs Saved), he’s worth 2.1 Wins Above his best total since and more than enough to this year’s $6.5 salary.

When he reaches 4,000 Suzuki will join a small crowd of players who that plateau professionally. Rose holds the major record with 4,256, and another 427 during three in the minors, for a professional total of Ty Cobb, whose record broke, is credited with hits by the Elias Sports the official statisticians of MLB.

research by various members of the for American Baseball Research current MLB official historian Thorn ) credits him with due to a double-counted game in 2010; that total with he’s credited at Baseball-Reference.com. The site credits him with 166 in the minors, for a total of 4,355.

Aaron and Stan Musial, who third and fourth on the all-time hit respectively, reached the plateau as the former racked up 3,771 league hits and 324 minor ones for a total of 4,095, the latter accumulated 3,630 in the and another 371 in the minors for a total of One much lesser known reached 4,000 as well: “Jigger” Statz, who accumulated 737 in the from 1919-1928 as well as in the Pacific Coast League in 18 during the 1920-1942 span (he back and forth between the two several times) for a total of

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 Obviously, Statz’s accomplishment from that of the other players, even if one considers the level of play in the old PCL wasn’t far that of MLB. Many capable of playing in the majors the combination of better pay and warmer more to their liking and substantial careers out west.

So too it is Ichiro, though to a much degree. In 2002, with phenomenal rookie season fresh, Baseball Prospectus Clay Davenport — the inventor of Average, a forerunner to the True stat that I frequently here as the best adjusted stat for hitters – studied the of play of the NPB based upon common to both leagues, those from Triple-A. the numbers using weighted of players’ plate appearances in and the U.S. his conclusion was that the NPB was 95 percent at the level of MLB, and 110 at the level of Triple-A (which is 86 percent at the level of MLB), as good or better than bygone major leagues:

For perspective, the Federal League, to the AL and NL of the mid-[1910s], rated as .93 and .95 in its two years of It is considered a major league. The Association of the 1880s lasted years; compared to the NL of the same it rated as low as .78 (in its debut year), and got as high as .94. The AA is considered a league.

The Union Association existed for one year, 1884, and it at .71, about the same as the Midwest League. It is considered, by League Baseball, to have a major league (a very bad in my opinion; the St. Louis team, led by Dunlap, was major-league quality, but no team in the league was.) The League of 1890 actually as stronger than the NL, with a rating.

The American League of when Nap Lajoie hit .426, has a of .93.

The Japanese leagues or beat all of them. By historical the present-day Central and Pacific are fully deserving of the “major label.

While several pitchers had come stateside to Ichiro’s debut, with Murakami (1964-1965) the first and Nomo (1995-2008) the most Ichiro was the first native position player to come to and he’s been by far the most In fact, Hideki Matsui is the other one to accumulate more 615 hits, 48 homers or 6.3 Wins Replacement in the majors (his from 2003-2012 are 1,253, 175 and respectively). Most of the position who have come over managed to blend in as average but not players, wtih Kosuke the only one besides Suzuki and to make an All-Star team. a table of the dozen who have more than 100 plate

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Suzuki Colleda CO
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