Ichiro Suzuki's quest for 3,000 hits continued with another hit on Sunday, May 8. Ichiro was batting leadoff for the Miami Marlins as the team played against the Philadelphia Phillies. In the bottom of the seventh inning, Ichiro came through with an important hit for the Marlins. He would later score on a sacrifice fly by Justin Bour to give the Marlins a 5-4 lead over the Phillies.
For Ichiro Suzuki, this was hit No. 2,948 during his career in Major League Baseball. That puts him just 52 hits short of joining the 3,000 Hits Club and taking his place among some of the best baseball players of all time. Most MLB experts and analysts consider Ichiro to be a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee, but joining the 3,000 Hits Club would certainly add something to his plaque.
Currently, Ichiro is serving as a fourth outfielder for the Miami Marlins. This was the 22nd game he has appeared in during the 2016 MLB season. During that time he has made 45 plate appearances, going 13-for-41 at the plate to post a .317 batting average. Ichiro also has six runs, two doubles, four RBIs, two steals, and four walks to his credit. While they aren't All-Star numbers, they are certainly respectable stats for a reserve player.
Ichiro Suzuki's 3,000 hits chase is currently on pace to reach the milestone before the end of the 2016 MLB season. If he continues to receive the same amount of playing time for the Miami Marlins and maintains a batting average above .300 during that time, he would reach the hit plateau at some point in the month of September. There are just 29 members of the 3,000 Hits Club, with Pete Rose leading all players at 4,256 hits over his extensive career.
During his 16-year career in MLB, Ichiro Suzuki has posted 2,948 hits, 1,354 runs scored, 547 extra base hits, 742 RBIs, 500 stolen bases, 600 walks, a .314 batting average, and an on-base percentage of .356. Ichiro was also intentionally walked 180 times so far, including a league-leading 27 for the Seattle Mariners in the 2002 MLB season. That's in addition to Ichiro winning the 2001 Rookie of the Year Award, the 2001 MVP, 10-straight Gold Glove Awards, three Silver Slugger Awards, and many more weekly and monthly accolades.
Ichiro also led all of baseball in WAR during the 2004 MLB season. Though he finished only seventh-place in the American League MVP voting, Ichiro finished with a record 262 hits and a .372 batting average for the year. He also tacked on 36 stolen bases to show just how valuable he was as the leadoff hitter for the Seattle Mariners. During his time with the Mariners, Ichiro connected on at least 206 hits in each of his first 10 years, breaking all MLB records in that regard.
Not only does Ichiro rank among the best base stealers of all time with his 500 total stolen bases, but he also has the second-highest stolen base percentage (81.4 percent) among any player to reach 500 steals. Only Tim Raines (84.7 percent) is ahead of him in that statistic. Rickey Henderson slides in behind them both with a career stolen base percentage of 80.8 over his 25-year career. Ichiro's ability to steal bases at will for the Mariners helped the team set a record with 116 wins during the 2001 MLB season.
While he isn't receiving as much national attention with the Miami Marlins as he did with the New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners, Ichiro could certainly take center stage again as he gets closer to inclusion in the 3,000 Hits Club. As the fourth outfielder, he will have to keep hitting to earn those at-bats, but his early success in 2016 predicts he could do just that. Ichiro Suzuki's 3,000 hits chase could also bring more eyes to the Marlins as the team tries to attract more fans this year.
[Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images]