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Ichiro Suzuki Ties Babe Ruth on Career Hits List

Ichiro Suzuki, who holds the all-time record for hits in a season with 262 in 2004, got two more, the second of which gave him 2,873 career hits, tying him Monday night with Babe Ruth on the all-time hit list.

The Miami Marlins outfielder singled in the third inning, then followed with a single to left off of Arizona Diamondbacks starter Rubby De La Rosa in the fifth to tie Ruth.

Suzuki, the consummate singles hitter who has led the league in hits seven times, and Ruth, the prototype of the home run slugger, who led the league in that category 12 times, both played the outfield (after Ruth established himself as one of the game’s great pitchers) but the similarity between their careers ends there.

 

MLB.com reported Suzuki saying after the game:

Obviously, when you think of Babe Ruth, he’s a home run hitter. I never seen him play, and don’t know too much about him. For me, I’m just such a different type of player. I like to get hits and use my legs to get different types of hits and obviously he’s hitting home runs. So you can’t really compare. Obviously, we happen to be on the same number [of hits] right now, but it’s tough to compare the two because we’re such different types of players.”

Suzuki, 41, only started in MLB at age 27. He played 11 1/2 seasons with the Seattle Mariners, then 2 ½ with the New York Yankees before he signed a one-year deal with the Marlins this year. His career has featured a series of records, including: ten straight seasons of 200 or more hits, the longest streak in baseball history; most at-bats by a rookie in a season, 692; most at-bats by a lefthander in a season, 704; most seasons leading the league in at-bats; most hits by a rookie in a season, 242; most consecutive seasons leading the league in hits, 5; and most consecutive stolen bases with no caught stealing, career: 45.

Ichiro also hit the only inside-the-park home run in All-Star history off of Chris Young in 2007.

Although Ichiro has reasonable power, he has eschewed hitting home runs and consciously opted for the singles approach. He told the New York Times in 2009: “Chicks who dig home runs aren’t the ones who appeal to me. I think there’s sexiness in infield hits because they require technique. I’d rather impress the chicks with my technique than with my brute strength. Then, every now and then, just to show I can do that, too, I might flirt a little by hitting one out.”

Interestingly, Suzuki’s lifetime batting average is .317; Ruth’s was .342.

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