Sunday, September 6, 2009

Ichiro Reaches 2000 Hits and Places His Name Next To Baseball Royalty


Today, Seattle Mariners outfielder, Ichiro Suzuki led off the game with a double, which was the 2000th hit of his career. In the process, Ichiro became the 2nd fastest player ever to 2000 hits.

He reached the milestone in 1402 games. Only the immortal Al Simmons reached the milestone quicker--1390 games. Ichiro bumped legendary St. Louis Browns 1st basemen, George Sisler to 3rd. place. Sisler got his 2000th hit in 1414 games.

Simmons (b.) and Sisler (l.)-- these are names we've heard before in recent times. Obviously they are both Hall of Famers and are considered baseball royalty. So if any player today gets mentioned in the same breath with these two greats--we can bet that they did something spectacular.

In 2004, when Ichiro set the single season hits record with 262-- it was Sisler's then-84 year old record of 257 that he broke. That was an amazing accomplishment-- Sisler had held the mark since 1920.

And last month, I wrote a post on Albert Pujols, who joined Simmons as the only players in history with 100 RBIs in their first nine seasons.

It's interesting that Ichiro and Pujols were the 2001 AL & NL Rookies of the Year and here they are nine years later being mentioned in the same breath with legends like Simmons and Sisler. I mean, these are astonishing achievements.

I think we all can agree, both Ichiro and Pujols are future Hall of Famers. Only twice in history have the Rookie of the Year duo gone on to the Hall of Fame-- the 1956 pair (Frank Robinson - NL and Luis Aparicio - AL) and 1967 (Tom Seaver - NL and Rod Carew - AL).

But before Ichiro and Pujols make the Hall of Fame, we should have a third pair-- the 1977 winners-- (Eddie Murray - AL and Andre Dawson - NL). Murray is already in the Hall of Fame and Dawson is an odds-on favorite to get enshrined in 2010.

Once Dawson gets in, Ichiro and Pujols will most likely be the fourth pair of Hall of Fame ROY duets. Now this is what I call-- a super exclusive club.

And stay tuned, the Ichiro-Pujols combo are not done yet-- soon they'll be reaching milestones held by other great immortals.

Photos courtesy of the Baseball Hall of Fame
Ichiro photo courtesy of MLB.com
Stats courtesy of baseball-reference.com

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