DYK: Ichiro joins 3,000-hit club

August 8th, 2016

became just the 30th member of baseball's 3,000-hit club on Sunday, recording a triple against Colorado's in the seventh inning of the Marlins' 10-7 win at Coors Field.

The hit came on the 17th anniversary of Wade Boggs' memorable homer for his 3,000th hit on Aug. 7, 1999 -- a feat that Suzuki missed by mere inches himself. It also marked a capstone of a remarkable career that has seen the 42-year-old etch his name in the history books of two professional baseball leagues, formulate a legend in two countries and inspire tens of millions of baseball fans.

So how does one define Ichiro's incredible tenure -- and, now, 3,000 hits -- in the Major Leagues? Here are just a few ways to understand his stellar career just a little better:

• Ichiro joined Hall of Famer and current Twins manager Paul Molitor as the only members of Club 3,000 to get their momentous hit on a triple. Molitor did so against the Royals on Sept. 16, 1996.

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• Ichiro enjoyed a lengthy and successful career in Japan before signing with the Mariners and debuting as a 27-year-old in 2001. That's by far the oldest debut for a player with 3,000 hits, passing Boggs, who was about two months shy of his 24th birthday when he played his first game with the Red Sox in 1982.

Of the previous 29 members of the 3,000-hit club, seven debuted as teenagers, and 23 debuted before turning 22.

• With that late start in mind, Ichiro is the second-oldest player to reach 3,000 hits, at 42 years, nine months and 16 days. Only Cap Anson (45 years, three months, one day) was older when he reached the hallowed number. Ichiro just barely surpassed Rickey Henderson, who was 42 years, nine months and 12 days old when he got his 3,000th hit -- also against the Rockies -- on Oct. 7, 2001.

• Only all-time hits leader Pete Rose (3,357), who played until he was 45, had more hits from his age-27 season onward than Ichiro, going back to 1901. Besides Rose, Stan Musial was the last player to record even 2,500 hits starting at 27, picking up 2,635 from 1948 to 1963.

• It's no surprise, given his many seasons with the Mariners, but Ichiro has notched his greatest number of hits (316) against the A's, batting .328 in 229 games. Next on the list are fellow American League West clubs Texas (313) and Los Angeles (276). The top non-AL West team is Toronto (187).

• Right-hander has allowed the most hits to Ichiro, with 37, along with a .306 batting average. The retired Kevin Millwood (33) is next, followed by (32) and (29).

• Ichiro is the sixth player to have 3,000 hits and 500 stolen bases, joining Lou Brock, Ty Cobb, Eddie Collins, Henderson and Molitor.

• More than 80 percent of Ichiro's hits have been singles, the 2,444 total ranks seventh in history behind only Rose, Cobb, Collins, Anson, Derek Jeter and Willie Keeler.

• Henderson's 3,020 hits as a leadoff batter are the gold standard -- and rightfully so, as he has been considered the greatest leadoff hitter in the history of the game. Ichiro's 2,525 base knocks from the top spot in the lineup rank third all-time, behind Henderson and Rose (2,924).

In addition, Ichiro's 2,404 hits as a right fielder are the second most in history, behind only the 2,880 from the legendary Tony Gwynn.

• Ichiro reached the 200-hit mark in each of his first 10 Major League seasons and is tied with Rose for the most seasons of 200 hits since 1901.

• Ichiro's 262 hits in 2004 broke George Sisler's single-season record of 257, set in 1920, although Sisler did it over a 154-game schedule. Since MLB expanded to 162 games, Ichiro is responsible for the top two single-season hit totals, three of the top six and five of the top 18.

• One way the left-handed-hitting Ichiro reached 3,000 hits is by excelling against left-handed pitchers. He has 908 hits off southpaws and a .328 average -- better than his mark against righties. In fact, since at least 1960, no left-handed hitter has done better in matchups with lefty pitchers, Hall of Famer Gwynn the closest, at .325. For that matter, Ichiro's average against lefties ranks in the top 10 over that span among all hitters with at least 1,000 plate appearances in those situations.

• Though only 113 of Ichiro's 3,000 hits have been home runs, teammates and opponents alike have speculated that he has the ability to display his power when he wants. Indeed, 61 percent of Ichiro's home runs have either tied a game, put his team ahead or won a game outright (eight game-tying home runs, 59 go-ahead and two walk-offs).

Furthermore, he has hit 17 of his home runs to lead off a game -- the fourth-highest total in baseball since he debuted in 2001.

• An impressive 699 of Ichiro's 3,000 hits have been on balls that remained in the infield, a testament to his speed. His spray chart also portrays how consistent he has been in hitting to all fields, with 716 hits to his pull side, 669 to the opposite side and 1,610 up the middle.

• Whether it's his first time at the plate or his third, Ichiro has been nightmarishly consistent in the eyes of starting pitchers. Ichiro has collected 657 hits in his first plate appearance of a game against a starter, 647 in his second time up against that starter and 616 in a third head-to-head showdown of a game.

• Ichiro is the seventh member of the 3,000 club to have played for the Yankees, the third to have played with the Mariners and the first to have suited up for the Marlins.