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Ichiro Suzuki set for 2,500th hit; will he get to 3,000?

Jun 19, 2012, 2:27 PM EDT

Ichiro Suzuki Getty Images

Probably tonight or perhaps tomorrow, Ichiro Suzuki will get his 2,500th hit as a major leaguer. He’s currently just one away, though that was also the case a couple of days ago; Ichiro  went 0-for-4 on Sunday and was given a rare day off on Monday.

Obviously, Ichiro’s pace is slowing down. The hope was his down 2011 season was just an aberration, but after 67 games in 2012, the 38-year-old is sporting the same .645 OPS he finished 2011 with.

It also looks like he’ll finish well shy of 200 hits once again. He’s at 71 through the Mariners’ first 69 games, putting him on pace to finish at 167.

Through 10 big-league seasons, Ichiro never finished with fewer than 208 hits. He peaked at 262 in 2004. However, he slipped to 184 last year, even though he played in 161 games.

If Ichiro finishes with 167 hits this season, it means he’ll enter 2013 with 2,595 hits. Barring a sudden resurgence at ages 39 and 40, he’ll have to play regularly into 2015 in order to reach 3,000. He’ll be 41 then, and chances are he’ll be a real liability as a starting outfielder. There’s a real threat that no one is going to want him, at least not as a starter. His five-year, $90 million contract with the Mariners expires at the end of this season, and with the way things are looking now, the team might opt to move on.

So, maybe Ichiro will simply pack it in before he gets to 3,000. It’s not like his legacy is in doubt. One can argue whether a singles-hitting right fielder such as Ichiro belongs in the Hall of Fame, but there’s no doubt he’s getting in. He’s a legend regardless of whether he finishes his MLB career with 3,000 hits. In truth, he already has 3,777 anyway, adding in his remarkable numbers from Japan. He doesn’t have anything left to prove.

  1. thefalcon123 - Jun 19, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    Ichiro had a .645 OPS last year and is boasting a .645 OPS this year…which is pretty unacceptable for a catcher, much less a corner outfielder. I wish him the best and hope he regains his form…but he looks pretty much finished. I highly doubt he’ll be around long enough to get to 3,000.

  2. mybrunoblog - Jun 19, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    I don’t think Ichiro will reach 3000 hits. Pouliot is right though. Ichiro has nothing left to prove and will be a HOFer even without 3k hits. A remarkably talented guy. Wish we could have seen him play his entire career in America.

    • rollinghighwayblues - Jun 19, 2012 at 2:54 PM

      I almost feel cheated not being able to see him play in MLB while he was in his early and mid twenties.

  3. icanspeel - Jun 19, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    As long as he has the will to play and not make anywhere near his 5 year/90 mill contract I think he will find a team willing to give him a spot somewhere so I can see him eventually getting 3,000 hits under that scenario

  4. southpaw2k - Jun 19, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    It’s probably my twisted sense of humor, but whenever I see a player getting close to a milestone like 2500 hits, or even 3000, I always semi-hope that the guy will get to within one or two hits, and then NEVER get another hit. Oh he’ll still play every day, but he does not record another base hit and never reaches the milestone in question.

    (P.S. – This is exactly what I was thinking when Derek Jeter was on the verge of getting to 3000 hits. I predicted he’d play every day for the next couple years, but never get a base hit for the rest of his career, not that it would affect his chances at getting in the Hall of Fame or anything. I would’ve really found that entertaining.)

    • ewyorksockexchange - Jun 19, 2012 at 3:37 PM

      I’m not sure if that’s a “twisted sense of humor”, or a complete lack of understanding of how the game works and not being enough of a fan to appreciate when great players pass milestones.

    • mybrunoblog - Jun 19, 2012 at 3:44 PM

      Better call your doctor bro I think you need to go back on your meds.

      • dexterismyhero - Jun 20, 2012 at 11:01 AM

        Bernie Mac mister 3000.

    • natstowngreg - Jun 19, 2012 at 4:49 PM

      Then you will be really entertained if Jeter approaches Pete Rose’s hits record.

      Not saying he will. However, he’s still a productive hitter batting at the top of a productive lineup, and still appears to enjoy playing baseball. Thus, one can conceive of him sticking around long enough to challenge the record.

    • drewsylvania - Jun 19, 2012 at 5:43 PM

      I found the word you’re looking for:

      schadenfreude (n.): : enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others

  5. braddavery - Jun 19, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    I would love to see Ichiro get his 3,000th hit and immediately retire. That would be a very interesting way to end his career. Plus he would join Clemente as the only 2 players to ever have exactly 3,000 hits.

    • rollinghighwayblues - Jun 19, 2012 at 5:18 PM

      I could actually see this happening with Ichiro. Ichiro is such an oddball that it would not surpise me if he collected his 3,000th hit and literally runs off the field to never be seen again.

      The attached links give me reasoning for my comments above, if nothing else, they are certainly worth a good laugh and awkward confused look.

      http://blogs.suntimes.com/sportsprose/2009/07/ichiros_sense_of_humor_lost_on.html

      http://www.slate.com/articles/sports/sports_nut/2007/08/ifshes_an_ugly_bowler_you_are_going_to_be_disappointed.html

  6. yankees177 - Jun 19, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Id like to see him playing dh and platoon RF/LF with the yankees and that short porch… Interesting.

  7. chill1184 - Jun 19, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    Ichiro has had a great career, I would dare say a first round ballot. I do hope he does get to 3,000 hits.

  8. paperlions - Jun 19, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    He did have 1278 hits in Japan before coming to MLB. Based on his early performance in Seattle, it seems likely he would already have more than 3500 hits if he had a chance to play his entire career on this side of the Pacific.

  9. Kevin S. - Jun 19, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    Calling Ichiro a singles-hitting right fielder significantly undersells his contributions though. You can have an empty .300 batting average, but it’s really hard to hit .323 for your career without being pretty damn valuable offensively, even if you don’t have much in the way of secondary skills. And for what it’s worth, Ichiro’s baserunning and defensive dominance definitely give him some bonus points.

  10. hodaghunter - Jun 19, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    The year after he averaged a .372 batting avg in 2004 people were knocking him about his lack of home runs, so the following year he pumped out 15 homers and batted .303. He proceeded to call it one of his worse offensive years ever.
    He needs one more home run for 100 for his career. I’ll take Ichiro and his career .323 batting avg vs most guys in this league any day.

  11. hodaghunter - Jun 19, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    Rookie of the year, MVP award, 10X All-Star, 10X Gold Glover, 3X Silver Slugger award, 10X 200 hit seasons, 184 hits last season. 432 career stolen bases and he stole 40 last year (slowing down??? hardly).

  12. dirtyharry1971 - Jun 19, 2012 at 8:47 PM

    Lots of issues with this article where does one start? #1 its about MLB hits, not what he got in japan, highschool, t-ball league, but MLB and thats the ONLY ones that count so lets stop adding up what he did in japan cause that has been proven a long time ago to be nowhere near MLB level. #2 3000 hits is a pipe dream, there is noway he gets signed for a full time gig after this season if at all, i cant see any reason why anyone would want to sign this guy, just look at what he is doing this year and last year. He isnt someone with pop you can use as a pinch hitter so he just will not have the chance to get it. #3 i dont see how this guy is in the HOF already as this thing suggests, what number gives him that pass? He doesnt have the hits, average at best on base %, no post season glory, bad OPS% especially for a right fielder. Also dont get me started on his glove work if he was so terrific why didnt he play a premium defensive position like he did in japan? I just dont see it but if this guy gets 3000 MLB hits i will eat my socks thats how sure i am thats NOT gonna happen

    • Kevin S. - Jun 19, 2012 at 9:12 PM

      Actually, his OBP is 12.5% better than the park-adjusted league-average OBP for his career, and he moved out of center to accommodate two other superlative defensive center fielders, Mike Cameron and Franklin Gutierrez. In between, Ichiro played center quite well, and he was the logical one to move to RF because of his superior arm. He averaged nearly forty stolen bases per year at an 82% success rate.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Jun 19, 2012 at 9:18 PM

        playing CF for two years doesnt replace the fact that he spent over 90% of his MLB career in right But if he was as great of a CF as they say why didnt he stay there? Its a premium postion compared to RF? And his on base % for a leadoff hitter is nothing to get crazy about there no matter how you try to twist it and dont forget his OPS% and compare that up against other right fielders and you will see exactly where he compares. Average at best, overrated big time

    • dexterismyhero - Jun 20, 2012 at 11:12 AM

      #1, the other players did not want to move to right field. Managers decision there. #2-No post season glory should not be held against him. Team sport, sport. #3. Read #1. #4, get your socks ready, because I feel he will get there unless he just hangs it up.

      He has averaged 220 hits/year in his first 11 years in MLB.
      10x All Star
      10X gold Glove
      2X batting champ
      MLB Record 262 hits in a season.

      I see him getting in the HoF right now.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Jun 21, 2012 at 1:01 AM

        Get my socks ready? You think there is a big market for a .250’s (if he is lucky) leadoff hitter with a sub .300 on base % and a slg% thats so laughable you would swear he was hitting with a plastic baseball bat that you buy a 3 year old? I’ll tell you what, i hope he keeps trying cause i enjoy watching him do this miserable and believe me you would be hard pressed to find a more worthless everyday player then ichiro has been going back to last season but i hope he keeps trying and one day i check his stats and he is batting .190 with a on base % of .230 and i hope he is still leading off with the M’s cause that will mean they are still losing.

  13. vols84 - Jun 20, 2012 at 7:56 AM

    He can come play for the royals

  14. fanz928 - Jun 20, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    He’s old

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