So there’s a bit of a kerfuffle in baseball. At the young age of 42 Marlin’s outfielder Ichiro Suzuki recorded his 4,257th career hit and moved ahead of Pete Rose on the all-time list. Problem is, 1,278 of those came in the Japanese professional league.
To his credit, Ichiro hasn’t said much about it. Pete Rose interjected himself into the discussion all by his lonesome.
Disclaimer: Ichiro has been one of my favorite players for almost two decades now. His work ethic, his ability, and even his batting stance are all things of beauty as far as I’m concerned. The sooner he (inevitably) gets to the Hall of Fame, the better.
But as much as I like to disagree with crusty white traditionalists, Rose does have a point. He faced a better caliber of pitching for 1,278 of his base knocks.
But, as Deadspin notes, if you calculate hits divided by total plate appearances, Ichiro is clearly the better hitter.
“There are plenty of quantitative arguments that support Ichiro as the greatest hitter of all time; he had 262 hits in 2004, the most ever; he had ten straight 200-hit seasons, and Rose had ten across his entire career; he grounded into exactly one double play in the 2009 season. Ichiro doesn’t have as many MLB hits as Pete Rose, but he is the best hitter of all time. When he’s 49 and still eating the same meal and doing the same stretches and hitting .305 for the Las Vegas Roll, he’ll pass Rose in major league hits, but he’s the Hit King already.”