Naturally, Michael the Kay is blaming Ichiro’s latest 3-23 slide on the 4,000 hit pressure.
As baseball historians attempt to attach perspective to Ichiro Suzuki’s all-time hit total, at least one media members says the New York Yankees outfielder changed his view about Japanese baseball.
“Watching Ichiro was one reason I realized the high caliber of Japanese ball,’’ said Bill Ballou, a Worcester Telegram & Gazette veteran who rose to the presidency of the Baseball Writers Association’s Boston chapter.
“It might be like the old World Hockey Association or the 1960s American Football League, but whatever it was, it was not just another minor league.’‘
...The Yankees media relations staff, however, is promoting Ichiro’s pursuit of 4,000 as a genuine benchmark in baseball history. Few dispute that, just as Suzuki’s eventual election to the Baseball Hall of Fame is considered inevitable, whether the 39-year-old outfielder reaches 3,000 major league hits or not.
“This is something. You don’t have to be from Japan, you don’t have to be a U.S. player, you don’t have to be a Canadian player, a Dominican player,” former Seattle teammate Ken Griffey Jr. told MLB.com.
“This is something that three people will have done. Those are Bugs Bunny numbers.”
In Major League history, only Pete Rose (4,256 hits) and Ty Cobb (4,191) have reached the otherworldly 4,000 level. If Suzuki’s accomplishment comes with an asterisk, so do theirs.
Rose’s banishment from baseball for gambling means his total is undisputed but also not formally recognized. Cobb’s hits came when baseball was a segregated sport, and a growing number of historians question whether statistics under those conditions should be taken literally.
What no one questions is Suzuki’s wizardry with the bat, however his numbers are interpreted.
“That’s a lot of hits, man. I don’t care if it’s 4,000 in Little League,’’ said Derek Jeter, who is Suzuki’s teammate in New York.
Posted: August 17, 2013 at 07:34 AM | 42 comment(s)
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