Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki tied Pete Rose's record on Wednesday.
Or did he?
Suzuki singled Wednesday at San Diego and now has 2,978 hits in his major-league career, but his pursuit of the 3,000-hit mark isn’t the intriguing part. Suzuki had 1,278 hits while playing in Japan, which means he has 4,256 for his career.
That’s the same number as Pete Rose’s major-league record of 4,256. But should Suzuki be recognized as the all-time hit king if he passes Rose?
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Kansas City Star
“It sounds like in Japan, they’re trying to make me the Hit Queen,” Rose told USA Today. “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.
“I don’t think you’re going to find anybody with credibility say that Japanese baseball is equivalent to major-league baseball. There are too many guys that fail here, and then become household names there, like Tuffy Rhodes. How can he not do anything here, and hit 55 home runs (in 2001) over there?”
Rose’s son Pete Rose Jr. is the manager of the Independent League Wichita Wingnuts, who are in the American Association with the T-Bones. The Wichita Eagle talked to Rose about Suzuki and his dad, and he said Suzuki’s hits in Japan shouldn’t count when comparing the two players.
“Obviously, I’m going to say my dad’s better,” Rose Jr. said. “Just because my last name is what it is … but you can’t take anything away from (Suzuki).”
You can watch more of the interview here: