When Ichiro Suzuki singled in his first at-bat against the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday, the game was stopped briefly so his Yankees teammates could congratulate him on joining Pete Rose and Ty Cobb in the 4,000-hit club.
But should Major League Baseball recognize Ichiro's milestone and rank him No. 3 on its all-time hit list since 1,278 of his hits came in Japan's Pacific League?
Without question, Ichiro has been the majors' most consistent hitter since 2001, collecting more than 200 hits in each of his first 10 seasons.
And he just as good a hitter as if not better than Rose. In 13 big-league seasons, Ichiro has 2,726 hits in 8,529 at bats. Rose had 2,547 hits in 8,221 at-bats in as many seasons. It took Rose 24 years to break Cobb's record. It likely will take less time for Ichiro, 39, to catch Rose, who retired at 45.
With 4,004 hits, Ichiro could surpass Rose's all-time record of 4,256 career hits the season after next.
Still, Rose should continue to be recognized as major-league baseball's hit king since he played his entire career against major leaguers the best players in the world.
Go ahead, stop the game when Ichiro gets his 4,257th hit. Shake his hand, slap him on the back and then put an asterisk on the ball before encasing it in Cooperstown, N.Y.
If Major League Baseball doesn't recognize Sadaharu Oh's 868 career home runs with the Yomiuri Giants, why should it recognize Ichiro's 1,278 hits in Japan?
What to do
Baseball, River Cats vs. Fresno, Raley Field, 7:05 p.m.: The River Cats remain in the hunt for the Pacific South Division title in the Pacific Coast League as the Grizzlies try to play spoiler.
Should Major League Baseball recognize Ichiro Suzuki's 1,278 hits in Japan's Pacific League?
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