Friday, June 17, 2016

Pete Rose, Ichiro and other people with more than 4,000 professional hits

Ichiro Suzuki
Miami Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki now has 4,257 hits in his professional career -- if you combine his numbers in the major leagues with his totals from the Japanese League.

Pete Rose, of course, holds the record for hits in the majors with 4,256. Ichiro passing that figure with his combined total has provoked plenty of discussion of late, and Baseball Digest posted a graphic on its Facebook page that I thought was interesting enough to share here.

We normally think of Rose and Ty Cobb as the only two men in the 4,000-hit club, because they are the only two to achieve that milestone in the big leagues. But what if we included all the other professional leagues -- all the minor leagues in the U.S., the Japanese League, the Mexican League, the Cuban League, the Negro Leagues, so on and so forth?

Baseball Digest's research turned up nine men who achieved 4,000 professional hits. Here they are, from highest to lowest:
Julio Franco

1. Rose
Majors: 4,256
Minors: 427
Total: 4,683

2. Cobb
Majors: 4,189
Minors: 166
Total: 4,355

3. Ichiro
Majors: 2,979
Japanese League: 1,278
Total: 4,257

4. Julio Franco
Majors: 2,586
Minors: 618
Mexican League: 316
Japanese League: 286
Dominican Winter League: 267
Korean League: 156
United Baseball League: 6
Total: 4,235
Minnie Minoso

5. Hank Aaron
Majors: 3,771
Minors: 324
Total: 4,095

6. Jigger Statz
Majors: 737
Minors: 3,356
Total: 4,093

7. Minnie Minoso
Majors 1,963
Minors: 429
Cuban League: 838
Mexican League: 715
Negro League: 128
Total: 4,073

8. Derek Jeter
Majors: 3,465
Minors: 554
Total: 4,019

9. Stan Musial
Majors: 3,630
Minors: 471
Total: 4,001
Stan Musial

The first thought that comes to mind when looking at this list is, who the hell is Jigger Statz? Well, he was born in Waukegan in 1897 and played eight big-league seasons, including four with the Cubs from 1922-25. He played his last game in the majors with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1928, but he continued to play in the minors until 1942, retiring just before his 45th birthday. I guess that's how you accumulate more than 3,000 minor league hits.

There are two players with White Sox ties on the list, the first of which is Julio Franco. I remember Franco playing shortstop with the Cleveland Indians when I was a little kid in the early 1980s. He was the designated hitter for the Sox in the ill-fated, strike-shortened season of 1994. He hit .319 with 20 home runs and 98 RBIs -- and remember, that season ended the second week of August. Franco's last game in the majors came as a 48-year-old with the Atlanta Braves in 2007. He collected six hits as a 55-year-old playing in the United Baseball League two years ago. I don't know if there's a more traveled player in the history of the game than Julio Franco.

Lastly, Minoso, aka Mr. White Sox, appears at No. 7. The only thing I can say about Minnie is this: How the hell is that man still not in the Hall of Fame? That injustice needs to be corrected. 

8 comments:

  1. Ichiro has over 4400 career professional hits....You forgot to include the 156 minor league hits Ichiro hit for Orix's farm team when he was 18 and 19 years old. Please update your article because no one is including his minor league hits when talking about his pro hits.
    http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/profile.asp?P=Ichiro-Suzuki

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  2. NPB teams do have minor league teams....I don't know why American media does not know that there are minor league teams for NPB but Ichiro played mostly for Orix's minor league team when he was 18-19, occasionally being called up for cups of coffee during the year to play for Orix NPB team. So including the 156 minor league hits in Japan, he has 4413 hits ...oh wait, he just got a pinch hit single a few minutes ago against the Rockies so he now has 4414 hits.

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    1. Japan has two minor leagues - the Western League and the Eastern League. The Western League has 5 teams and the Eastern League has 7. It is possible to play both in a minor league game and an NPB game on the same day.

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  3. your astute record keeping is appreciated by all Ichiro fans

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  4. You should have included their post-season hits. They matter most, correct?

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  5. You should have included their post-season hits. They matter most, correct?

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