Miami Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki passed Rod Carew for 24th on MLB's all-time hit list Thursday, also becoming the sole possessor of the highest hit total of a player born outside the United States.
Ichiro, 43, hit a single to center field in the eighth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals. He now has 3,054 hits in MLB and is baseball's overall all-time hits king when factoring in his stats in Japan. His record-breaking hit was part of a 2-for-3 day as he re-entered the starting lineup for the first time since June 29.
In his 17th MLB season, Ichiro has struggled for much of the year. He's hitting .210/.245/.286 with two home runs and eight runs batted in. The Marlins have mainly used him in pinch-hit duty and the occasional spot start when an outfielder has needed rest.
“Obviously, I’m not getting a lot of opportunities now,” Ichiro said, per Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. “When you don’t perform well in those limited opportunities, it’s tougher on you. It kind of stays with you longer. So I definitely feel that.”
Ichiro became the oldest player in MLB last month when the Atlanta Braves designated Bartolo Colon for assignment. He's in the final year of his contract with the Marlins but has made no commitment about playing beyond this season.
“It doesn’t really cross my mind,” Ichiro said of his age. “I think it’s some stuff people can look at and enjoy and have fun with. But other than that, I feel the same as I have in the past.”
Despite being on pace for perhaps the worst season of his career, it's a testament to Ichiro's longevity that he's still out on the field and setting even more records.