Ichiro had 14 multi-hit games in April, and the Mariners Michael Pineda starred enough to earn Rookie of the Month thanks to four wins and a 2.01 ERA.
Ichiro finished April with 14 multi-hit games, most in Major League Baseball. That included a four-hit game against Detroit on April 19. What is Ichiro’s highest total of multi-hit games in a month? And how do you rate Michael Pineda’s first month in the major leagues?
We’ll tackle Ichiro first. Fourteen obviously isn’t bad, but Ichiro has had more in a month many times. In May,2004, en route to 262 hits, Ichiro produced 18 multi-hit games (May is frequently his best batting average month). He also had 17 multi-hit games in August 2004, when he had a franchise-record 56 hits, and 16 multi-hit games in May 2001. Ichiro has had six months with 15-multi-hit games, the last in June 2009.
Of more interest to us than Ichiro’s top multi-hit months: A couple of weeks ago, after Ichiro produced the 44th four-hit game of his career, we posted a chart comparing that total to the totals of modern-era Hall of Famers who finished their careers with at least 3,000 hits. We would have stayed away from Ichiro, statwise, for a while, except that Ichiro won’t let us.
Since his four-hit extravaganza on April 19 in a 13-3 Mariner victory over the Detroit Tigers at Safeco Field, Ichiro has produced seven more multi-hit games (six with two hits, one with three hits), enabling him to exceed 700 multi-hit games for his career — while just barely into his 11th season in the Major Leagues.
It’s interesting — in fact, astonishing — how this compares the totals compiled by modern era Hall of Fame batters (those who spent the majority of their careers performing in the era of divisional play: since 1969) — in the first 11 years of their careers.
With 705 career multi-hit games (through Tuesday), Ichiro has 54 more (practically a full season’s worth) than No. 2 Kirby Puckett, who had 651 such contests for the Minnesota Twins between 1984-94. Ichiro produced 705 multi-hit games while playing in 1,617 contests. Puckett had 651 in 1,646.
Most multi-hit games by modern-era Hall of Famers (or players with 3,000 hits) through the first 11 seasons of their careers (again, Ichiro is barely into his 11th season):
|2001-11||Ichiro||705||Leads MLB with 14 multi-hit games|
|1984-94||Kirby Puckett||651||4 200-hit seasons between 1986-89|
|1963-73||Pete Rose||636||Like Ichiro, posted 10 200-hit seasons|
|1982-92||Wade Boggs||606||High batting average of .368 in 1985|
|1962-72||Lou Brock||584||Had 4 seasons of 60+multiple-hit games|
|1982-92||Tony Gwynn||584||Career-high batting average .398 in ’94|
|1967-77||Rod Carew||567||Produced 70 multi-hit games in 1977|
|1977-87||Eddie Murray||537||Finished with 3,255 hits, 504 homers|
|1961-71||Carl Yastrzemski||493||Last man to win the Triple Crown, 1967|
|1987-97||Rafael Palmeiro||488||Collected 3,000th hit at Safeco Field|
|1974-84||Robin Yount||486||Career-high 61multi-hit games in 1982|
|1973-83||George Brett||484||Best year came in 1980, when he hit .390|
|1988-98||Roberto Alomar||472||Had 61 multi-hit games in 1996|
|1988-98||Craig Biggio||470||Finished with 3,060 hits, 291 HRs|
|1982-92||Cal Ripken||468||Had career-best 73 multi-hit games in ’91|
|1978-88||Paul Molitor||449||Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004|
|1973-83||Dave Winfield||426||Had 3,110 hits, 465 HRs in 22 seasons|
Ichiro’s 705 multi-hit games are the most in the Major Leagues since 2001, in fact, 133 more than No. 2 Derek Jeter of the Yankees. Leaders in multi-hit games since Ichiro came into the majors:
|2001-11||Ichiro||705||Career-best 80 multi-hit games in 2004|
|2001-11||Derek Jeter||572||Neds 50 hits to reach 3,000 for career|
|2001-11||Albert Pujols||555||News 80 hits to reach 2,000 for career|
|2001-11||Michael Young||555||4 straight 200-hit seasons starting in ’03|
|2001-11||Juan Pierre||534||Has 4 200-hit seasons since 2001|
|2001-11||Vladimir Guerrero||519||Posted 61 multi-hit games in 2006|
|2001-11||Miguel Tejada||505||Best year was 2004: 150 RBIs|
|2001-11||Jimmy Rollins||499||Career-high 63 multi-hit games in ’04|
|2001-11||Todd Helton||478||Career-high 63 multi-hit games in 2000|
|2001-11||Bobby Abreu||470||Had career-best 57 multi-hit games in ’08|
|2001-11||Edgar Renteria||410||Career-high .322 batting avg. in 2007|
Since the beginning of divisional play in 1969, no player has produced more multi-hit games in a season than Ichiro had in 204 — 80. Only two players have produced more multi-hit games in a year than the 75 Ichiro had as a rookie in 2001.
|1985||Wade Boggs||Red Sox||240||72|
On Tuesday, Major League Baseball selected Michael Pineda as the American League’s Rookie of the Month for April (first Mariners rookie to win the award since Rafael Soriano in 2003). Pineda went 4-1 with a 2.01 ERA in the season’s first month after losing his debut game. We went back to 2003 and looked at all starting pitchers selected Rookie of the Month, and ranked them according to ERA. This is how Pineda compares (note that current Mariner Aaron Laffey, then pitching for Cincinnati, had the best ERA among Rookie of the Month winners):