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Former Cubs outfielder Matt Murton threatening to break Ichiro Suzuki's hit record in Japan

Sep 24, 2010, 1:49 PM EDT

Matt Murton was a 2003 first-round pick who hit .286/.352/.436 in 1,058 plate appearances spread over 354 games for the Cubs, Rockies, and A’s, but for whatever reason never really got a shot to be an everyday player despite doing very well as a 24-year-old regular in 2004.
After spending most of last season at Triple-A he headed to Japan, signing with the Hanshin Tigers, and yesterday Murton became just the fourth player in Japanese history to reach 200 hits in a season. Not only that, but with 201 hits and 10 games remaining he has a chance to break the all-time record of 210 hits held by Ichiro Suzuki.
Murton is hitting .352 with 17 homers for Hanshin and has averaged 1.5 hits per game, which puts him on a 216-hit pace. However, as Daisuke Wakabayashi of the Wall Street Journal points out “there are past examples of Japanese pitchers refusing to challenge foreign players who are close to breaking Japanese baseball records.”
It’ll be interesting to see if Murton gets enough strikes to make a run at Suzuki’s record and if the big season in Japan will cause an MLB to give him another look.

  1. Mr. Heyward - Sep 24, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    In the voice used while saying “Matt Damon” in Team America: World Police – I say to this “Matt Murton”…I can’t believe this, though! I saw that dude play a bunch at Wrigley, heard about his potential repeatedly and then he disappeared. I completely forgot that guy existed and now he’s the beast of the east. A ronin warrior of sorts.

  2. birdmancometh - Sep 24, 2010 at 2:16 PM

    Matt “the great white ninja” Murton

  3. tbs - Sep 24, 2010 at 2:41 PM

    Maybe he can offer to go to the Cove and slaughter some dolphins to show that he’s respectful of the Japanese culture.

  4. Omega - Sep 24, 2010 at 2:56 PM

    Good to know this kid is still playing. Would love to see him back in the Majors in the very near future.

  5. Mr. Heyward - Sep 24, 2010 at 3:04 PM

    F&ck you dolphin! F&ck you whale!

  6. Kiwicricket - Sep 24, 2010 at 3:29 PM

    Dolphin is great on a BBQ with thin slices of lemon, and some cracked pepper. You’re obviously not very culturally aware.

  7. Kiwicricket - Sep 24, 2010 at 3:34 PM

    I can’t be bothered looking the guy up. I am just crossing my fingers his middle name is something like ‘Micheal’ ….

  8. GOB - Sep 24, 2010 at 3:40 PM

    Ginger Racism in MLB: somebody write an article, I’m too lazy

  9. Gobias Industries - Sep 24, 2010 at 4:13 PM

    Stop, dude, you’re making me hungry. Might have to stop by McDonald’s after work to get me a McDolphinwich. Tastes real good with a side of baby Koala bear.

  10. Kiwicricket - Sep 24, 2010 at 5:17 PM

    That would certainly explain Lind’s down year in Toronto. Bastards.

  11. Mr. Heyward - Sep 24, 2010 at 5:27 PM

    I dunno, man. Koala is overrated. I tend to just eat their livers and leave the rest of the mangled and bloodied body in the eucalyptus tree.

  12. f*ck la - Sep 24, 2010 at 5:29 PM

    mmmmmmm…mcdolphin

  13. skitchx48 - Sep 24, 2010 at 5:40 PM

    Somewhere George Sisler is feeling vindicated.

  14. Kiwicricket - Sep 24, 2010 at 6:35 PM

    Thats a sustainable form of marsupial harvesting. Nice work.

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