Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki: Best Hitter in Major League Baseball History

Cliff PotterCorrespondent IOctober 23, 2010

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 29:  Ichiro Suzuki #51 of the Seattle Mariners at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on September 29, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Ichiro Suzuki recently proved he is the greatest hitter in Major League Baseball history. He had his 200th hit for the 10th straight year in the United States. This is a feat no hitter has ever achieved.

Pete Rose is the only other player who had 200 hits in 10 years, which took him 15 years to accomplish. All other great hitters line up behind Suzuki, including Ty Cobb, whose AL record Suzuki shared until this year.

Had he been hitting in the Major Leagues over the entire course of his career, he would be the all-time hits leader by now. And there is mounting evidence that Suzuki will live in the shadow of the Mariners.

Suzuki has been lost beneath a perennial doormat in the American League. Banished to the Pacific Northwest, where time and place make him a baseball treasure few see or appreciate, even over television.

This is perhaps the greatest tragedy in the history of baseball. Great stars have been pulled to great teams where they have toiled in the spotlight of the world.

Many in baseball enjoy far less ability but a much larger audience because of the team and geography.

Few statistics stand out more than hitting. Of the many great hitters, most have been belittled for "hitting for average." Suzuki is no exception.

Yet what does this really mean? Is it not the goal of most baseball teams to get players on base?

There are a few exceptions. Among others, one has to hit sacrifice flies on occasion. But let's get real. A hitter like Suzuki could go on forever.

Whatever his legacy, he is clearly one of the greatest hitters baseball has ever seen.