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.