NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Pete Rose is not a fan of counting the hits Ichiro Suzuki accumulated over in Japan.
Heading into Monday night’s game, the Miami Marlins outfielder and future Hall-of-Famer is four hits shy of Rose’s all-time record of 4,256. Suzuki has 2,974 hits in the majors and 1,278 in Japan.
“It sounds like in Japan, they’re trying to make me the ‘Hit Queen,’” Rose told USA Today. “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’re be counting his high school hits.”
The “Hit King” said the Japanese Pacific League doesn’t have the same “caliber of personnel” as Major League Baseball does.
“I don’t think you’re going to find anybody with credibility say that Japanese baseball is equivalent to Major League Baseball,” Rose said. “There are too many guys that fail here, and then become household names there, like Tuffy Rhodes. How can he not do anything here, and hit (a record-tying) 55 home runs (in 2001) over there?”
Suzuki is batting .336 at the age of 42 this season.
“I would be happy if people covered it or wrote about it, but I really would not care if it wasn’t a big deal,” Suzuki told USA Today. “To be quite honest, I’m just going out and doing what I do.”
“What I care about is my teammates and people close to me celebrating it together, that’s what’s most important to me.”
Suzuki said it would be a “bigger accomplishment” if a player in Japan passed Rose’s all-time hits record.
“When I think about it, if somebody was to pass Pete Rose’s record just playing in Japan, that would be a bigger accomplishment because of the few games they play over there,” Suzuki explained to USA Today. “We play more games here. So for somebody to pass Pete Rose, just playing baseball games in Japan, would be unbelievable.”
Suzuki broke into the majors at the age of 27 with the Seattle Mariners in 2001, taking the league by storm by capturing both the American League Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards.
Suzuki has also played for the New York Yankees.
He is a 10-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove winner.
The Cincinnati Reds are retiring Rose’s number at the end of the month. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred rejected Rose’s application for reinstatement in December. Rose was banned from MLB for life for gambling on baseball games.