As Ichiro Suzuki closes in on 3,000 Major League hits, the 42-year-old Marlins outfielder reached another milestone on Wednesday in a 6-3 loss to the Padres.
His swinging bunt to lead off the game against the Padres gave him 4,256 hits over his entire professional career, counting his nine seasons playing in Japan. That's the same number that MLB's all-time hit king, Pete Rose, collected over 24 years. Ichiro later got to 4,257, passing Rose's total with a ninth-inning double.
Ichi-Rose: Combo batter expands hit story
Of course, Ichiro's hits for the Japanese Pacific League's Orix Blue Wave do not count toward his MLB total, which reached 2,979 with the two-bagger that unofficially moved him past Rose. Nonetheless, 4,257 is an impressive tally and provides an opportunity to compare Ichiro and Rose and see how they stack up against each other.
Justice: Ichiro's feat astounding, but Rose reigns in MLB
• Ichiro got to 4,257 professional hits in 3,363 games, 14,339 plate appearances and 13,107 at-bats. While finishing with 4,256 hits, Rose also set all-time Major League records with 3,562 games, 15,890 plate appearances and 14,053 at-bats. (From late in the 1984 season through his final year in '86, when he was 45, Rose served as the Reds' player/manager).
• It also should be noted that Rose notched 427 hits in the Minor Leagues from 1960-62, bringing his professional total to 4,683.
• When Ichiro played in Japan, the season was only 135 games long, compared with 162 in the Majors. In his five full seasons there -- he played sparingly for his first two and was injured for parts of his last two -- Ichiro averaged 132 games. Going by his rate of about 1.4 hits per game during that time, Ichiro could have picked up 126 additional hits (putting him close to 4,400) if he had averaged 150 games per season instead.
• While Rose was the National League Rookie of the Year in 1963 at age 22, Ichiro was the American League Rookie of the Year in 2001, at age 27. In other words, Rose had a five-year head start in the big leagues. From ages 27-41 for the Reds and Phillies, Rose collected 2,970 hits, or 35 more than Ichiro had through his age-41 season last year.
• Ichiro owns a career .314 batting average in the Majors, compared with .303 for Rose, including .306 through his age-42 season with the Phillies in 1983.
• Here is a breakdown of Ichiro's MLB career and Rose's at the same ages (27-42).
- At least one hit: Rose 1,846 games, Ichiro 1,776
- At least two hits: Rose 902 games, Ichiro 887
- At least three hits: Rose 281 games, Ichiro 256
- At least four hits: Rose 54 games, Ichiro 53
- At least five hits: Rose eight games, Ichiro seven
• On the other hand, during those same spans, Rose had 562 games of no hits in at least three at-bats, compared with 462 for Ichiro.
• Rose put together a 44-game hit streak in 1978, the second-longest in the Majors, behind Joe DiMaggio's 56, since 1900. Ichiro's longest MLB streak was 27 games in 2009. However, taking out the 44-gamer, Rose had seven streaks of 20-plus games, the same as Ichiro.
• Rose's best streak of multihit games was seven, which he did once. Seven is also Ichiro's best in the Majors, but he has done it five times.
• In the Majors, both players started more than five straight games without recording a hit only once.
• Rose slugged .409 over his career, with more than 75 percent of his hits singles. Ichiro has slugged .405 in the Majors, with more than 81 percent of his hits singles.
• Ichiro and Rose both have 10 Major League seasons with 200-plus hits, but Ichiro got to 220 five times, led by 262 in 2004. Rose reached 220 only once, in 1973, when he hit 230.
• The Major Leagues are of course much different during Ichiro's era than Rose's. With fewer teams and no Interleague play, Rose faced 12 teams and fewer than 800 pitchers over 24 seasons of regular-season play. Ichiro has played against all 30 MLB teams and nearly 1,250 pitchers in the regular season.
• The only pitcher to face both hitters was left-hander Jesse Orosco, who set a Major League record by appearing in 1,252 games over 24 seasons. Orosco, then with the Mets, encountered Rose 11 times in seven seasons between 1979-86, with Rose going 3-for-10 with two strikeouts. Ichiro went 1-for-2 with a double off Orosco in 2003, when the 46-year-old was in his final year.