The Washington Times - June 24, 2009, 08:20AM

 As the Mariners’ Ichiro Suzuki lashes his way to his 2000th major league hit, I’ve found myself wondering: How does he compare statistically to Hit King himself, Pete Rose? The fairest way to do it, I suppose, is to take the stats from Ichiro’s eight-plus big league seasons and line them up, side by side, with Rose’s totals when he was same age (27 through 35, the prime of his career). Ichiro is at a bit of a disadvantage because the current season is less than half over, but it’s still pretty remarkable how close their numbers are in most categories.

For the record, the years for Rose are 1968 to ’76, when Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine was at its biggest and reddest. Note: The numbers in parentheses are how many times the player led the league in that department during the seasons in question.)

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AB – Rose 5,838 (2), Ichiro 5,728 (6).

R – Rose 994 (4), Ichiro 914.

H – Rose 1,863 (5), Ichiro 1,901 (5*).

2B – Rose 340 (3), Ichiro 209.

3B – Rose 66, Ichiro 67.

HR – Rose 85, Ichiro 78.

RBI – Rose 536, Ichiro 486.

BB – Rose 704 , Ichiro 393.

IBB – Rose 97, Ichiro 135 (2*).

SO – Rose 501, Ichiro 549.

SB – Rose 66, Ichiro 327 (1).

BA – Rose .319 (3), Ichiro .332 (2).

OBP – Rose .395 (1), Ichiro .377. 

Slug % – Rose .444, Ichiro .433.

OPS – Rose .839, Ichiro .810.

Total Average – Rose .806, Ichiro .803.

Hit into DP – Rose 100, Ichiro 43.

HBP – Rose 49, Ichiro 42.

MVP – Rose 1, Ichiro 1.

All-Star Games – Rose 8, Ichiro 8.

Gold Gloves – Rose 2, Ichiro 8.

* Leading the league this year

See what I mean? Rose hit significantly more doubles (the Artificial Turf Factor?) and drew more walks, but Ichiro, with his great speed, has a ton more stolen bases and has grounded into about half as many double plays. Ichiro also has a bunch more Gold Gloves, but Pete’s ability to play three infield positions (1B, 2B, 3B) and anywhere in the outfield can’t be discounted.

The major surprises for me were (a.) Rose struck out less often than the hard-to-whiff Ichiro (8.6 times per 100 at bats to the latter’s 9.6) and (b.) Pete – Charlie Hustle – was such a lousy base stealer. He was successful on just 55.5 percent of his attempts, headfirst slide or no headfirst slide. Ichiro, on the other hand, is safe 81.5 percent of the time.

But in many categories, there isn’t much to choose between the two. And don’t forget, Ichiro still had 93 games left this season going into Tuesday night. He’s on pace for 242 hits, which would raise his total to 2,047 – 184 more than the Hit King had in the same slice of his career. That’s almost a year’s worth for Pete (who averaged 207 hits a season during this stretch).

– Dan Daly