Baseball

Side by Side: Ichiro vs. Cobb – is it a fair fight?

Miami’s Ichiro Suzuki hits a single in the first inning against St. Louis, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015 in St. Louis.
Miami’s Ichiro Suzuki hits a single in the first inning against St. Louis, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015 in St. Louis. The Associated Press

On Saturday, Miami Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki got his 4,192nd career hit – in the major leagues and Japan. That pushed him past Hall of Famer Ty Cobb.

Suzuki, 41, had 1,278 hits in nine seasons in Japan. Through Sunday, he had 2,915 hits in the major leagues.

While baseball does not recognize the combined total as an official record, it’s worth comparing the body of work by the noted hitting machines.

Both Suzuki and Cobb played nine seasons by age 27. Suzuki played his in Japan. Here is a look at six seasons while they were in their prime. It’s worth noting Cobb played just 98 games in his 10th season. The categories are hits, batting average and stolen bases:

Suzuki

Cobb

Age 27

242

Hits

127

.350

Avg.

.368

56

Steals

35

Age 28

208

Hits

208

.321

Avg.

.369

31

Steals

96

Age 29

212

Hits

201

.312

Avg.

.371

34

Steals

68

Age 30

262

Hits

225

.372

Avg.

.383

36

Steals

55

Age 31

206

Hits

161

.303

Avg.

.382

33

Steals

34

Age 32

224

Hits

191

.322

Avg.

.384

45

Steals

28

Source: baseball-reference.com

24 SEASONS? CHECK

Cobb retired after 24 seasons with a career .366 batting average and 897 stolen bases. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1936.

Suzuki is in his 24th professional season and is a career .315 hitter with 496 stolen bases in the majors. He stole 199 bases in Japan and batted .353 in his nine seasons there.

Both players were primarily outfielders, batted left and threw right.

SOME PRIME NUMBERS

Cobb batted .377 during his prime seasons. He had 1,113 hits and stole 316 bases.

Suzuki batted .331 during his prime seasons. He had 1,354 hits and stole 235 bases.

Jeff Caraska

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