BY SPNW Staff 07:09PM 06/19/2012

Ichiro Milestone: Fourth Fastest To 2,500 Hits

In addition to his 2,500th hit, Ichiro earlier this season set a major league record for most the hits in the first 12 years of a career.

Ichiro gets his 2,500th career hit Tuesday in Phoenix. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

Ichiro singled Tuesday in the first inning of the Mariners’ game at Arizona, the 2,500th base hit of his major league career. Ichiro reached the milestone in his 1,817th game, making him the fourth-quickest to 2,500 hits among all players whose careers began after 1900.

Only Al Simmons (1924-44), Ty Cobb (1905-28) and George Sisler (1915-30), all Hall of Famers, reached 2,500 hits faster than Ichiro (see chart below).

Ichiro lofted a soft fly ball to center field off Arizona starter Daniel Hudson that dropped in front of Diamondbacks center fielder Geraldo Parra for his milestone.

Ichiro (4-for-5, sac fly, 2 RBIs), who took the night off Monday, doubled in his second at-bat, and banged a single into center in his third at-bat in the fifth inning. It marked the 228th time that Ichiro produced a three-hit game. Ichiro grounded out in the sixth. When he doubled in the 10th, helping the Mariners win 12-9, his four-hit game marked the 48th of his career.

Earlier this season, when Ichiro collected his 2,474th hit, he set a record for the most hits in the first 12 years of a career.

Ichiro’s first hit as a Mariner was April 2, 2001, a bunt off former Mariner Jim Mecir (1995), pitching for the Oakland Athletics. Ichiro’s other milestone hits: No. 500 – May 16, 2003 vs. Detroit, single off Jeremy Bonderman; No. 1,000 – June 14, 2005 vs. Philadelphia, single off Jon Lieber; 1,500 — July 29, 2007 vs. Oakland, single off Santiago Casilla; 2,000 — Sept. 6, 2009 vs. Oakland, double off Gio Gonzalez.

Along with former Mariner Omar Vizquel (2,851, 402) and Johnny Damon (2,743, 405), Ichiro is now also one of three active players with at least 2,500 hits and 400 stolen bases. Ichiro has 432 stolen bases.

Ichiro is the 24th player to join the 2,500-400 club and the eighth from the American League along with Ty Cobb, Eddie Collins, Tris Speaker, Paul Molitor, Luis Aparicio, Rickey Henderson and Damon.

Ichiro ranks 95th on the all-time hit list and needs 10 to tie No. 94 Jimmy Ryan (2,513). Of the 94 batters with 2,500+ hits, 62 are in the Hall of Fame and 11 others, including Ichiro, are not yet eligible.

Aside from Pete Rose, the all-time hits leader with 4,256 who is ineligible for the Hall of Fame, Harold Baines has the most hits (2,866) by an eligible player not in the HOF.

Rose, banned for gambling on baseball when he managed the Cincinnati Reds, did not reach 2,500 hits until his 1,981st game, 165 more (or one full season) than it took Ichiro to accomplish the feat.

More than two dozen players, including Joe Medwick (2,471), Roger Conner (2,467), Harry Hooper (2,466), Lloyd Waner (2,459), Red Schoendienst (2,449), Mickey Mantle (2,415), Ryne Sandberg (2,386), Enos Slaughter (2,383), Edd Rousch (2,376), Carlton Fisk (2,356), Orlando Cepeda (2,351), Billy Herman (2,345), Eddie Matthews (2,315), Jim Bottomley (2,313), Bobby Wallace (2,309), Kirby Puckett (2,304), Kiki Cuyler (2,299) and Dan Brouthers (2,296) made the Hall of Fame without reaching 2,500 hits.

In addition to holding the MLB record for most hits in the first 12 years of a career (2,500), Ichiro can set another record for most hits in the first 13 years of a career if he gets 144 more by the end of 2013. The 13-year-record is 2,648, by Hall of Famer Paul Waner.

Fewest Games Needed To Reach 2,500 Hits

Year Date Player Team Games HOF
1936 Sept. 14 Al Simmons Tigers 1,784 1953
1918 Aug. 16 Ty Cobb Tigers 1,790 1936
1929 May 18 George Sisler Braves 1,808 1939
2012 June 19 Ichiro Suzuki Mariners 1,817 TBD
1938 June 3 Paul Waner Pirates 1,825 1952
1929 May 7 Rogers Hornsby Cubs 1,846 1942

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