In honor of Ichiro Suzuki racking up his 3,000th career hit in the Marlins' 10-7 win over the Rockies on Sunday, we asked other members of the 3,000-hit club -- listed in order of career hits -- to share their thoughts on Ichiro becoming the 30th member of their exclusive
In honor of Ichiro Suzuki racking up his 3,000th career hit in the Marlins' 10-7 win over the Rockies on Sunday, we asked other members of the 3,000-hit club -- listed in order of career hits -- to share their thoughts on Ichiro becoming the 30th member of their exclusive fraternity.
Pete Rose, 4,256 hits
"Anybody who gets 3,000 hits is a great hitter. Ichiro is a tremendous hitter. What 3,000 hits does is automatically put him into the Hall of Fame, at least I think it should. He's a great hitter with speed and a great arm. I have a lot of respect for him. I know how hard it is to get 3,000 hits. It's nice to have a non-home run hitter get there again."
Hank Aaron, 3,771 hits
"I've been very impressed with his performance throughout his career. To get to 3,000 hits, few can say they have ever done it. We talk about 500 home runs other great milestones. But for him to get to 3,000 hits, it shows you how very consistent he's been both in Japan and the United States.
"I was very happy to hear he plans to donate everything to the Hall of Fame. I believe there are only two guys who have done this [after a milestone moment], and that is myself and Tom Seaver. The next time he is here [in Atlanta], I'd like to come down, shake his hand and congratulate him."
Derek Jeter, 3,465 hits
"Congratulations to my friend and teammate, Ichiro, on joining the 3,000-hit club. I was fortunate to have both the pleasure of competing against him and the honor of playing alongside him. Baseball is more than a game to him, it is a craft, which he works at tirelessly with intense discipline. A true professional in every sense of the word, this is just another milestone in the legacy he is building as a baseball player."
Paul Molitor, 3,319 hits
"He plays to get hits. That's what he thinks is the best way to help his team is to get as many hits as possible, and he's done it very well. I have an incredible amount of respect for him. A 50-hit month is a rarity for a baseball player, and he did it three times [in 2004]. To come over here as late as he did, after playing all those years in Japan, and still be riding in on the opportunity to get to 3,000 here, it's pretty special."
"He's a man who is highly motivated. I don't think he believes he's very close to retirement. He's got a fairly unique style, but it's proven to be very effective and it'll put him in the Hall of Fame."
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Willie Mays, 3,283 hits
"Congratulations to Ichiro on joining the 3,000-hit club. It is an exclusive honor, achieved by only a select group and history was made today. Ichiro is a phenomenal player, and it's been a pleasure to watch him play."
George Brett, 3,154 hits
"He's an unbelievable player. Not only for what he did in Japan, but what he's doing here. We took a big photo at the Hall of Fame with everybody that has 3,000 hits that was there. They're going to present that to him. He's the nicest guy in the world, too. I don't know what it's like to be his teammate, but I've met him a few times and talked to him through his interpreter. It was a neat deal."
Dave Winfield, 3,110 hits
"I'm happy for him. He's a phenomenal player. Very committed to the game. I have to say it's an incredible feat. And when you consider how many years it took for him to get there, oh my gosh. What is it, 16? That's incredible. I know he respects the game and maximizes his ability. It's so well-deserved."
Craig Biggio, 3,060 hits
"I just think it's been amazing. When you look at his numbers, when he was in his prime, he was throwing 260-something hits out there, 240-something hits. I mean, it was impressive. I wish that we were in the same league to be able to witness it a little bit more. What he's been able to do on the baseball field is a tremendous accomplishment, and I'm really excited to have another guy in the club."
Rafael Palmeiro, 3,020 hits
"It was awesome to play against him. Not just the player he is, it's the person he is. He's one of those rare people you sometimes meet in life. What he has done in the Major Leagues in our country is incredible. You put that together with what he did in Japan, and he's up there with anyone who ever played. It's just incredible."
Wade Boggs, 3,010 hits
"Ichiro, welcome to the 3,000-hit club. Our newest member. Nice going. Work on 5,000 next."
Al Kaline, 3,007 hits
"He's one of my favorites all time, the way he plays the game, hits the ball to all fields. He's just a good all-around player. When we were up at the Hall of Fame, all the 3,000-hit guys all sent a message to him, anticipating 3,000 hits.
"Most of the guys that get 3,000 hits are the guys that are not power hitters. They get pitched to a little bit more, and they don't want to walk them because the threat of the home run is not as deep. But he's a great hitter, great player, and what he's been able to accomplish both over in Japan and here is remarkable. That's a lot of playing, and that's not getting hurt very much, missing time like I did. He's kept himself in great shape."