Is Ichiro Suzuki Really The New Hit King?

Jesus MelendezCorrespondent IApril 17, 2009

SEATTLE - APRIL 15:  Ichiro Suzuki #51 (L) of the Seattle Mariners meets with Isao Harimoto, the current all-time hits leader among Japanese players, prior to the game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Safeco Field April 15, 2009 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Like he has so many times before, Ichiro Suzuki slapped a single through the right side of the infield.  Pretty routine if you think about it…but the historical significance was huge.

With that hit, Ichiro surpassed Isao Harimoto and became the all-time hit leader among Japanese baseball players.

But here’s the big question, how do we look at Ichiro’s 3,086 (1,808 in the states…1,278 in Japan) hits?

When we talk about “great hitters”, do we place him between Craig Biggio (3,060) and Dave Winfield (3,110) on the "all-time" list or look solely at his MLB numbers?

As a for instance, I’ve NEVER heard anyone add Hank Aaron or Willie Mays’ Negro League totals to their MLB totals.  Have you?

So, what is Ichiro to you?  Is he the all-time Japanese hit leader with 3,086 base knocks or the all-time hit leader among Japanese born MLB players with 1,808 hits?

Maybe he’s both.

Any way you slice it (and I said this last August), I’m sure he’s opening Cooperstown’s doors to some of the other Japanese greats.

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Read more from Jesus over at The Hall of Very Good.