With his iconic swing while at the same time moving from the batter’s box, Ichiro Suzuki the outfielder for the Miami Marlins reached a historic plateau with a triple off the wall in right field for his 3,000th hit.
The towering hit off Chris Rusin a southpaw reliever for the Colorado Rockies came during the seventh inning of the Marlins 10-7 win on Sunday making Ichiro the 30th Major League Baseball player to reach 3,000 career hits.
After umpires called time, Ichiro was mobbed by teammates at third base, led fittingly by Dee Gordon their second baseman, the batting champion for the National League last season.
Through his interpreter, Ichiro said more than the 3,000 hits itself, when he saw his teammates rush onto the field with joy and the fans cheering for him is what makes it so great to play baseball.
For his career in professional baseball, Ichiro has accumulated 4,278 hits, as he hit 1,278 while playing in Japan before his 3,000 in the Majors. Pete Rose, the Hit King for MLB had 4,256 career hits during his playing career in the Majors.
The hit by Ichiro on Sunday placed him in a tie at No. 29 all time with Roberto Clemente the Hall of Famer. He also became only the second player to reach 3,000 hits after he had reached 27 years of age.
Rose had 3,353 hits after he turned 27. Ichiro, who is 42, joins Cap Anson and Ricky Henderson as the only two players 42 or older to reach 3,000 hits.
On Sunday, Ichiro was hitless the first three times he came to bat, before hitting his triple in the seventh. Ichiro walked in the ninth in his final plate appearance.
Ichiro’s 3,000-hit quest moved quickly earlier in the season, but has been longer since the then. He had hoped to reach the mark during a recent homestand of 10 games but only had 2 hits in 17 at bats over that stretch. He also was hitless against the Cubs at Wrigley Field before the Marlins traveled to play Colorado over the weekend.
Between 50 and 60 members of the Japanese media were following Ichiro from series to series hoping to be present when he reached his 3,000-hit. Usually he is followed on a regular basis by between 5 and 6 Japanese reporters.
Starting the season, Ichiro needed only 65 hits to reach the 3,000 plateau, but has been a fourth outfielder and pinch-hitter most of the season.