On Wednesday night, Ichiro Suzuki collected the 4,000th hit of his professional baseball career. Those hits have come during a career split between Japan (in the Nippon Professional Baseball league) and Major League Baseball.
Suzuki sliced a line-drive to the opposite field in the first inning of the New York Yankees’ matchup with the Toronto Blue Jays. The hit came off R.A. Dickey and bounced just past third baseman Brett Lawrie.
With the hit, Suzuki broke a tie with Lou Gehrig by collecting his 2,722nd career hit in 13 major league seasons. He also collected 1,278 hits in nine seasons with the Orix Blue Wave in Japan.
After he got to first base, Suzuki’s teammates rushed out of the dugout and mobbed him at first base. Curtis Granderson got there first and gave him a big hug. He then turned and faced the cheering fans and bowed. Former Seattle Mariners teammate Ken Griffey Jr. congratulated Suzuki with a pre-recorded message on the Yankee Stadium video board.
Ichiro now has the most hits through the first 13 seasons of his major league career. Pittsburgh Pirates great Paul Waner is second, as he had 2,648 from 1926-1938.
Pete Rose (4,256) and Ty Cobb (4,191) are the only players to reach 4,000 hits in a major league career.
Suzuki arrived in Major League Baseball in 2001 and has had a remarkable career to this point. The 39-year-old is a 10-time All-Star, 10-time Gold Glove winner, three-time Silver Slugger Award winner, two-time American League batting champion, and won both the Rookie of the Year and MVP awards in 2001. He also holds a Major League record with 262 hits in 2004.
The Yankees ended up winning the game 4-2.
Video of Suzuki’s milestone hit is below: