The New York Yankees have been too busy dealing with Alex Rodriguez for anyone else to get noticed. But on Aug. 21, the Yankees finally had someone other than Rodriguez take the spotlight, even if it wasn’t a long time New Yorker. Although Ichiro Suzuki got most of his career hits in Japan and Seattle, he still connected on his 4000’th career hit in New York during the Yankees’ latest 4-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Suzuki got the suspense out of the way in the first inning with a single off of R.A. Dickey. It wasn’t a big blast, like most of his hits, but it got the job done like always. While it was only his 2,722’nd hit in the major leagues, the 1,278 hits he got as a player in Japan make him the third hitter in world baseball history to have 4,000 for a career.
By that standard, Suzuki needs only 257 more hits to top Pete Rose as the most prolific hitter of all time. In his prime, he came close to 250 hits every years, but they have been harder to come by as a 39-year-old. In fact, he only has 116 hits and a.274 average this season.
Nevertheless, Suzuki gave the Yankees a highlight that had nothing to do with Rodriguez or his drama. Yet New York’s hottest hitter has been Alfonso Soriano, who came through again with a tie-breaking home run off of Dickey in the eighth. It gave the Yankees their 12’th straight win over the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium and their fourth straight overall, which closed them to within four games of the second wild card spot.
But Suzuki’s achievement was the story of the night, even if some might not count it because not all of his 4,000 hits were in the United States. If one does count it, here is a list of how Suzuki stacks up against the most successful hitters in baseball history.