During last Sunday's afternoon contest against the Kansas City Royals, Ichiro Suzuki of the New York Yankees collected two hits, bringing him into sole possession of 50th place on MLB's all-time hits list, per MLB.com's milestone tracker.
Ichiro collected hit No. 2,774 of his career with a second-inning single, which tied him with Andre Dawson for 50th on the list. He saw one more chance in the ninth inning, reaching base with a leadoff single against Royals closer Greg Holland, only to be left stranded at third base on the losing end of a 2-1 ballgame.
Had Ichiro not waited until his age-27 season to make his MLB debut, one can only wonder where he would stand on the all-time list. He logged nine professional seasons for the Orix BlueWave of Japan prior to making his MLB debut for the Seattle Mariners in 2001, when he went on to win AL MVP, Rookie of the Year and Gold Glove honors, along with his first of 10 straight All-Star Game selections.
Ichiro also collected over 200 hits and 25 stolen bases in every single one of those years on his way to arguably one of the best decades by a leadoff hitter in MLB history.
Ichiro was eventually traded to the Yankees in 2012, where he's added 242 hits to his career total. Even in his age-40 campaign, he continues to make solid contact, hitting .308 on the season with a .364 OBP and 14 runs scored entering Wednesday's action.
The outfielder known by one name is set to hit free agency in 2015, and it's currently unclear how long he intends to continue his chase of the elusive 3,000-hit club. Ichiro told ESPN prior to the 2014 season that he plans to play "many" more years, and at least in the short term, he shouldn't have a problem catching on with a team looking for a lefty bat capable of hitting .300.
All stats courtesy of MLB.com unless otherwise specified.
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