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Ichiro Suzuki gets 4,000th career hit between MLB and Japan
In that moment it did not matter that his name would not be listed in Major League Baseball’s record book next to Ty Cobb and Pete Rose, the only two players to reach the milestone solely in the major leagues.
Everyone involved Wednesday night knew: this was quite an achievement.
“I was overwhelmed,” Suzuki said of the reception.
The 39-year-old outfielder slashed a single the opposite way in the first inning off Toronto knuckleballer R.A. Dickey that bounced just beyond diving third baseman Brett Lawrie for hit No. 4,000 in a career split between Japan and the major leagues.
With his 2,722nd hit in the big leagues he passed Yankees Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig in his 13th season in the United States. The speedy outfielder amassed 1,278 hits in nine seasons with Orix of Japan’s Pacific League.
MLB does not recognize Suzuki’s overall mark, but players and coaches around the league marvel at the rarely heard number.
Suzuki was surprised when his teammates streamed out of the dugout and surrounded him at first base, Curtis Granderson giving him the first hug. Suzuki said he felt bad that the game was being stopped for him and he tried to prevent the Yankees from coming onto the field, but he was grateful.
The broad grin that broke out when he saw his team said it all.
“It was supposed to be a number that was special to me, but what happened tonight I wasn’t expecting,” Suzuki said. “When my teammates came out to first base it was very special, and to see the fans. I wasn’t expecting so much joy and happiness from them and that’s what made it very special tonight.”
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