Ichiro Suzuki and his quest for 3,000 hits took another step forward on Sunday. Ichiro got a hit in the June 5 game between the Miami Marlins and New York Mets, putting his batting average at .313 by the end of the day. Ichiro finished with just one hit on the day, coming through with another infield hit in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Ichiro was serving as the leadoff hitter again for the Marlins, as he has continued his success at the plate during the 2016 MLB season. Through 46 games now, Ichiro has gone 31-for-99 at the plate for the .313 batting average. This is the highest his batting average has been this late in the season since 2012 with the New York Yankees.
With another hit on Sunday, Ichiro Suzuki now has 2,966 career hits, putting him just 34 hits short of 3,000. If he continues to see this much playing time for the rest of the 2016 MLB season, Ichiro appears likely to join an elite group of hitters that have achieved that mark. This could be just another mark he leaves on the history of the game, as he has made quite an impression on pitchers since coming to the Seattle Mariners for the 2001 MLB season.
Some of the career accolades that Ichiro Suzuki already possesses could make him a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee five years after he retires. He is the only player in Major League Baseball history to have 10 consecutive seasons of at least 200 hits. During that string of 200-plus hit seasons, he set the all-time mark for a 10-year span as well.
During the 2004 MLB season, Ichiro Suzuki posted 262 hits, breaking the all-time record for hits in a season. He finished with a .372 batting average and made the American League All-Star team once again. While with the Mariners, Ichiro was selected to 10 All-Star teams and won 10 Gold Glove Awards. He was also the 2001 AL MVP and 2001 AL Rookie of the Year.
In addition to closing in on the 3,000 Hit Club, Ichiro has a career batting average of .314, 1,361 runs scored, and 503 total stolen bases. Those are just his numbers from playing in the major leagues since he turned 27. Before that, he was putting up MVP numbers in Japan, showing he may be one of the greatest hitters to ever play baseball.
There are a number of Seattle Mariners fans who have posted on social media a desire to have Ichiro Suzuki return to the Pacific Northwest. The Mariners traded Ichiro to the New York Yankees midway through the 2012 MLB season. The Mariners had been struggling quite a bit and Ichiro requested to go to a contender. He hadn’t been in the postseason since the 2001 MLB season, so the Mariners’ front office obliged.
Once he finished playing with the Yankees, Ichiro signed a free agent deal with the Miami Marlins. During the 2015 MLB season, Ichiro played in 153 games for the Marlins, filling in for several injured outfielders on the 25-man roster. Just like this season, Ichiro has played games in right field, center field, and left field for the Marlins. He has even pitched one inning in relief for the team.
Ichiro will continue to see a lot of playing time as long as he continues to perform well. If all three young outfielders (Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna) remain healthy and productive, though, he may become the odd man out. At his current pace, Ichiro Suzuki should reach 3,000 hits for his career at the end of July or in the beginning of August. That would make him just the 30th player in MLB history to join the 3,000 Hit Club.
[Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images]