On Wednesday afternoon, Ichiro Suzuki added two more hits to his career total in the Japanese and North American major leagues to 4,257, passing Pete Rose’s record Major League Baseball total.
Suzuki had 1,278 hits playing in Japan professionally from (1992-00) and before coming to play in the Majors in 2000 where he played for the Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees and now currently the Miami Marlins.
He joined them at the start of the 2015 season. He’s had 2,979 hits with these teams.
Pete Rose was quoted recently by USA Today as saying: “I’m not trying to take anything away from Ichiro, he’s had a Hall of Fame career, but the next thing you know, they’ll be counting his high-school hits.”
“Obviously, I’ve heard of Pete Rose’s comments, and he wasn’t happy about what they are saying about this record,” Suzuki said. “To be honest, this wasn’t something that I was a making out as a goal. It was just kind of a weird situation to be in because of the combined total.”
Suzuki’s first hit Wednesday was on a dribbler in the first. His second was a double into the right-field corner in the ninth.
“For me, it’s not about the record,” Suzuki said. “It’s about my teammates and the fans.”
Marlins president David Samson watched while having a sushi dinner in Germany.
“Ichiro gets a hit in the first inning and I loudly cheer. He looks at the TV and says `Ichiro!’ The first thing he does is put down the tuna and extend his hand. Then he reaches to pull up his white coat like it’s Ichiro’s jersey and gets into Ichiro’s batting stance,” Samson said of the chef. “That to me was the most symbolic moment as it relates to Ichiro and his career. He transcends borders and demographics and religion and race. He does something very few people do. He does his job.”
“If you could have 25 Ichiros, you would have 25 World Series rings.” Samson said. “He is a true humble professional who works as hard when he’s 0 for 5 as when he’s 5 for 5. That skill cannot be taught. In a world where sports athlete are rarely role models, Ichiro is a true role model off and on the field.”
In the ninth, Suzuki lined a double into the right-field corner against Rodney. He then took off his helmet and waved it to applauding fans. Suzuki was given a warm ovation as both teams’ players applauded for Suzuki. “Ichiro is a really special player and I love to see him get this and keep his march going toward 3,000 hits,” Mattingly said. “It says a lot about him as a player, how he prepares every day and his love for playing.
Suzuki will be remembered as one of the best of this generation because the way he carries himself. He’s always been professional, hard working and just loves the game. Anytime you need a base hit Ichiro usually delivers. He’s a model of consistency and a role model players should look up to. You never heard of Suzuki complain about a contract dispute, not getting along with a teammate or whine about playing time.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.