I realize it is cliche, but when Ichiro Suzuki laced an opposite field single Wednesday night…it became the modern day equivalent to “the shot heard ’round the world”.
Why? Do you even need to ask?!?
That basehit off Toronto Blue Jays pitcher R.A. Dickey was number 4000 for the New York Yankees star. And if you’re keeping track (and who isn’t?), that’s 2722 for Ichiro here in the Majors and 1278 during his playing days in Japan.
“That’s a lot of hits, man,” Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said of the milestone. “It’s pretty impressive. I don’t care if it’s 4000 in Little League. It shows how consistent he’s been throughout his career. It makes you look at how many hits he’s got in a short amount of time. That’s difficult to do, so Ichi has been as consistent as anyone.”
Only two players have reached the 4000 hit plateau in the bigs…Pete Rose (4256 hits) and Ty Cobb (4189). Two others (Hank Aaron and Stan Musial) achieved the number if you add up their minor league and Major League totals. Aaron had 3771 in the Majors and 324 in minors…totaling 4095 regular season hits. “Stan The Man” combined for 4001 (3630 in the Majors…371 in the minors) during his days in St. Louis and the minor leagues.
If you choose to go further down the rabbit hole, you’ll find Jigger Statz and Julio Franco.
During his eight-year Major League career, Statz collected just 737 basehits. But here’s the impressive part. Between 1920 and 1942, the former outfielder amassed an amazing 3356 hits, while playing in the minors. Add those two totals together and, you guessed it, more than 4000 hits. 4093 to be precise.
Franco, who finally hung up the spikes just six seasons ago, compiled an astounding 2586 hits during his 23-year big league career. But, outside of the Majors, dude was collecting hits left and right. The breakdown: Minor Leagues-618, Mexican League-316, Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball-286, Dominican Winter League-267 and South Korea’s Korean Baseball Organization-156. Add that up and you’re looking at 4229 hits!
So, yeah, Ichiro has definitely entered into a rare, weird group of players.