On Wednesday night Ichiro Suzuki of the New York Yankees collected his 4000th professional hit. The key word here is: professional. In no way am I saying MLB hits, I am talking professional hits. Career pro hit number 4000 was MLB hit number 2722, good for 59th all-time.
Ichiro has become the epitome of the professional hitter since he joined the MLB in 2001. Prior to joining the MLB Ichiro spent 1992-2000 in the Japanese League. In the Japanese League Ichiro collected 1278 hits. From 1994-2000 he had an average of 177 hits per year. During his tenure in the MLB his average hits per year have increased to 217 (through 2012). Even though his hits total per season have tailed off in the last 2 years he is still one of the most consistent hitters in the league.
With regards to the total 4000, some will say that his time in the Japanese League does not count, it’s no better than the AAA level in America. To that I say get over yourself. The Japanese League does count. It is the highest level of professional baseball in Japan. Ichiro has flourished in the MLB as his 2722 hits will attest.
I am not an Ichiro fan. I do not like the Mariners or the Yankees, the 2 MLB teams he has played for. I do have respect for what he has done and I respect him as a player. Ichiro will reach the Hall of Fame when he does retire. It is not the 4000 professional hits that will get him there. It will be his MLB stats and the way in which he plays the game that will get him there.
I know this blog is about the Oakland Athletics and their farm system, but this blog is really about baseball. There may be some off-topic posts from time to time. This was a topic too important not to cover.