Former Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki collected his 4,257th career hit Wednesday, passing Pete Rose for the most professional baseball hits.
The hit that put him over the top came when Ichiro hit a double in the 9th inning against the San Diego Padres. He tied Rose with a single in the first inning of the game.
The accomplishment is a big deal for baseball fans in Japan. But many in the U.S. say this does not make Ichiro the new all-time hit king as 1,278 of his professional hits -- about 30 percent -- came when he played for Orix in Japan's Pacific League (1992-00).
“It sounds like in Japan,’’ Rose told USA TODAY Sports, “they’re trying to make me the Hit Queen. I’m not trying to take anything away from Ichiro, he’s had a Hall of Fame career, but the next thing you know, they’ll be counting his high-school hits.
Ichiro played his first 11 and a half MLB seasons with the Mariners.
He is now 21 hits away from 3,000 for his Major League Baseball career -- the unofficial benchmark for Hall of Fame consideration. He would become the 30th person to reach 3,000.
Suzuki turns 43 on Oct. 22. Two players were 42 or older when they got No. 3,000: Cap Anson (45) and Rickey Henderson (42).