Ichiro Suzuki ... Come on down?

Wednesday, July 29 2009 @ 12:14 PM EDT

Contributed by: Mick Doherty

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 BaseballReference.com, 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!