Ichiro Makes History But Padres Get a Win

Marlins star now has more hits than any player in baseball history

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The Padres beat the Marlins 6-3 on Wednesday at Petco Park but in the process we got to see an interesting little bit of history.

Ichiro Suzuki had a pair of hits putting him just 21 shy of 3000 for his Major League Baseball career. It likely won’t take him too long to reach the almost mythical number and guarantee his spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame. But if we take Ichiro’s professional career as a whole? Well, baseball has a brand new hits king.

Adding Ichiro’s hits from the Japanese Pacific League to his total from MLB he now has 4,257 knocks, which would break Pete Rose’s all-time record. Of course it doesn’t really count since Major League Baseball records can only be set in contests in Major League Baseball games.

However, had he played the entirety of his career in the United States it’s entirely possible Ichiro would have legitimately topped Rose.

In seven seasons in the Japanese Pacific League’s Orix Blue Wave (throwing out a pair of short stints when he was a teenager) Ichiro averaged 177 hits a season. Keep in mind he only played about 130 games a year. In his first year with the Mariners, in 2001, he rolled up 242 hits and proceeded to top 200 knocks for the next nine years after that.

So obviously the dramatically better pitching in MLB was not too big for him. In his 16-year Major League Baseball career Ichiro has averaged exactly 200 hits a season. Take a quick look at how that stacks up against a few other decent hitters from history:

Tony Gwynn = 209 hits/year
Derek Jeter = 204 hits/year
Ichiro Suzuki = 200 hits/year
Rod Carew = 200 hits/year
Wade Boggs = 200 hits/year
Pete Rose = 194 hits/year

That’s some awfully elite company to be in. Rose played for 24 years. With his time in Japan this is Ichiro’s 25th professional season. So while we simply cannot crown him the all-time Major League Baseball hits king we can certainly crown him baseball’s International hits king and have a pretty good idea that, had geography been a little different, the American Big Leagues would have a guy on top the all-time hits list that is actually eligible to have a place in Cooperstown.

As for the game, the Padres got a solid start from rookie Luis Perdomo, who gave up three runs in 6.0 innings to get the win. Perdomo is only in the rotation because Andrew Cashner is on the disabled list but looked like he has the makeup of a legitimate big league starter on Wednesday afternoon.

The Friars were down 3-2 in the 5th inning when they strung some hits together. Matt Kemp singled, Yangervis Solarte doubled, Derek Norris singled, and Melvin Upton Jr. singled … all with two outs … to put three runs on the board and put the Padres up for good.

Fernando Rodney worked a scoreless 9th to earn the save but did give up Ichiro’s (historic?) hit. Rodney has 13 saves and still has not allowed an earned run in a Padres uniform.

San Diego starts a 4-game set against the Nationals on Thursday night in the East Village. Erik Johnson gets the start against Tanner Roark. In the long series the only pitcher in the Nats rotation the Friars will not see is San Diego native Stephen Strasburg.

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