SAN DIEGO (CBSNewYork/AP) — Florida Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki has surpassed Pete Rose’s all-time hits record of 4,256 — sort of.
Suzuki increased his combined Japanese and North American hit total to 4,257 on Wednesday by getting two hits in Miami’s 6-3 loss at San Diego. He reached on a dribbler up the first-base line in the first inning and doubled in the ninth.
How Suzuki’s accomplishment compares to Rose’s MLB record is debatable; 1,278 of his hits came during his nine years with Orix in Japan’s Pacific League.
Suzuki entered Wednesday batting .347 in a part-time role and has 2,979 MLB hits, putting him on pace to become the 30th person to reach 3,000.
Suzuki turns 43 on Oct. 22. Two players were 42 or older when they got No. 3,000: Cap Anson (45) and Rickey Henderson (42).
Rose told USA Today earlier this week that Suzuki’s hits from Japan should not be counted to his overall total.
“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?”
Following the game, Suzuki said he’s looking forward to 3,000 hits.
“Obviously 3,000 is a no-doubter. It’s a record here, so that’s a goal I want to achieve,” Suzuki said.
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.
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