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Great question recently from Bauxite Ron: "This just in, Ichiro is a good hitter. On a 0-2 count, he was able to hit a ball out of the strike zone to win the game. Despite being 35, I wouldn't rule out Ichiro getting 3000 hits Stateside. Has he done enough to be a Hall Of Famer?"

My initial reaction was "Oh my God, yes, of course! Why even ask the question?" But on closer look, there is an argument to be made ...

Ichiro's "Most Similar" players, according to, include a personal favorite of mine in Ralph Garr, as well as Mickey Rivers and Matty Alou. Not a Hall of Famer in the bunch ... okay, there's one on his list in Ross Youngs, who died in 1927 at the age of 30 after racking up nearly 1500 hits and a .322 career batting average in 10 big league seasons.

So Youngs' career was cut short in the middle/end while Ichiro's started late as he didn't come to Seattle from Orix (Japan Pacific) until his age-27 season.

Ichiro, currently a .333 career hitter, will get his 2000th career hit before the end of this season, though 3000 would probably take him into his 40s, if he gets (chooses to get) there. He's been in the big leagues for nine seasons -- so he's not even actually eligible for the Hall yet! -- and has been an All-Star each season. He's won Rookie of the Year and MVP (in the same season!) and received MVP votes in six additional seasons. He's won eight Gold Gloves. His arm is legendary.

Honestly, and that's just a quick unscientific glance, I still think he's a first-ballot guy. Your thoughts, Bauxites?

See his stats here. And make your case, one way or the other!

Ichiro Suzuki ... Come on down? | 8 comments | Create New Account
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TimberLee - Wednesday, July 29 2009 @ 12:25 PM EDT (#203461) #
Once he gets his 10 seasons in, of course he's in. The career batting average should take care of that - and then add the Gold Gloves, MVP and other awards. He won't be unanimous because there are strange people who vote, but he will be a first-year-eligible man.
whiterasta80 - Wednesday, July 29 2009 @ 12:33 PM EDT (#203463) #

There are alot of "numbers guys" who will say no, but he is a no doubter in my mind.  Actually I think the Hall is going to have to move away from numbers in general when picking players and just focus on who was the best.  For example there probably won't be another 300 win guy in the future- but that's typically what it takes for automatic entry into the hall.  Ditto for 3000 hits which would be "required" for a player in the Ichiro mold.

Personally I can't imagine a hall without Ichiro, and the likes of Roy, Johan Santana, or Frank Thomas.

Of course, I can't imagine a hall without Pete Rose either, so you never know.

Magpie - Wednesday, July 29 2009 @ 12:35 PM EDT (#203464) #
I'm sure the voters will cut his counting numbers some slack, in the event he doesn't actually make it to 3000 hits.

And so they should. Suzuki was good enough to play in the major leagues in 1994, when he was 20 years old - his skills blossomed quite early. He had 1242 hits over the next seven Japanese seasons - had he been in North America playing the longer season, I am absolutely certain he would have had many, many more hits than that.

If he had come to Seattle in 1994, I think he'd have about 3300 hits right now. He'd be setting his sights on Rose and Cobb. Which I think is cool - I observed a long time ago that Suzuki was the closest thing in contemporary baseball to Ty Cobb (as a player - without, you know, being a racist psychopath and all.)
jerjapan - Wednesday, July 29 2009 @ 01:11 PM EDT (#203469) #
I know it doesn't count for squat in the MLB Hall of Fame, but Ichiro casts a shadow like no other over Japanese baseball.  I spent several years living in Tokyo and his stature was legendary.  He was always a bit of an individualist / loner type, which of course doesn't fit the team-first mold that still holds sway in Japan, but his dominance of the game in his time there was unparalelled - enough to allow the man to go by one name only.  Not to mention being the first position player to dominate in MLB at a time when people felt that only Japanese pitchers could experience success.  There was tremendous pride in Japan over his first few years in Seattle. 

Japan aside, I say he gets in.  Rice just got in, and that's clearly due to his peak seasons, as opposed to his career numbers.

Also, I would lay even money that Ichiro gets 3000 hits stateside.

Shrike - Wednesday, July 29 2009 @ 01:37 PM EDT (#203474) #
Ichiro! is a clear Hall of Famer once he reaches 10 years in MLB, as has been said above. If for some reason he retired tomorrow, he should still make it in with credit for his Japanese accomplishments (and a waiver by HoF so he could be voted in).

Also, odds are very good that he will play quite productively into his late 30s/early 40s, which will give him the counting stats he needs to make up for his late start.

jmoney - Wednesday, July 29 2009 @ 01:42 PM EDT (#203476) #
As far as his hitting goes. I think he as close to a modern day Ty Cobb as we're ever going to see. Just wonderful plate control and the way he can get that bat head out and slap the ball to where they ain't. First ballot HOFer in my opinion.
Geoff - Wednesday, July 29 2009 @ 02:37 PM EDT (#203492) #
I can see Ichiro waving some lumber around until he's well into his 60's. He'll put Franco to shame.

By the time he's ready to retire, there may not be a Hall of Fame -- it will have morphed or amalgamated with some other entity, I'm thinking something online, perhaps related to Perhaps a Japanese company will have bought it and there will be different classes of rank in the new system, in which Ichiro will be given the highest order of rank.

Now to go find me some medication.

Ron - Wednesday, July 29 2009 @ 07:05 PM EDT (#203521) #
After thinking about it, Ichiro is a first ballot Hall Of Famer even if he doesn't get 3000 hits. Ichiro has been one of the most dominant hitters of this decade. If you just need a single to win the game, virtually every fan/GM would select Ichiro to be at the plate.

Ichiro deserves all the praise in the world but I wish the media would stop talking about how if Ichiro wanted to, he could be a big time HR hitter if he was willing to take a hit on his BA. Where is the evidence he can do this? Every single hitter on a Major League roster can hit HR's in BP so this can't be it.
Ichiro Suzuki ... Come on down? | 8 comments | Create New Account
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