He came here with a reputation, he just departed here with a baseball record for the ages.
I thought to myself as I stood in the press, where we are not supposed to cheer’ and clapped, whether the fans in the stands would do the same for the other guy?
Ichuro Suzuki, the ageless wonder at 42, left here with the Miami Marlins with a (.349) batting average, quite an accomplishment. He left here too with the base hit record, with an asterisk attached to it, (4,257), the combined total of what he did in Japan and what he has done with the Mariners-Yankees and now Miami.
It was a standing ovation well deserved, everywhere across baseball, except in Las Vegas, where the Hit King, the Gambler, Pete Rose felt it was important to throw cold water on Suzuki’s red hot bat.
He called the set of base hit stats Ichuro compiled in Japan ‘irrelevant’, saying if a journeyman 4A-player like Tuffy Rhodes, the ex-Cub, could hit 55-home runs there, how good could the leagues really be?
He said if we’re compiling stats, then add in all of Rose’s minor league numbers too, (301-hits) at Macon, Tampa and Geneva as he climbed the minor league ladder to Cincinnati.
25-years into his career, Ichuro is still hitting against the best. Rose played till he was 45, and yes an accomplishment.
Ichuro had an amazing response to the Rose critique, insinuating he plays the game “the right way”. Ouch, that’s like a scorching line drive right thru the box, referencing Rose, betting, suspension, lies and revisionist history.
It’s always been about Rose, his wishes, his needs, his desires, his warped takes on all he accomplished, what he did, and how he should be remembered.
Suzuki might not be done. He could conceivably go another couple of years, and some think he might be a 3,000-hit guy here in baseball.
The Marlin was respectful, calling the Hit King, Mr. Rose, but he was right on with what he said about Rose too, the player, and the person.
Here’s the fitting climax to all of this. When all is said and done, and Ichuro is done driving his last hit down the line, might he wind up in Cooperstown, for all his accomplishments in all of baseball?
I wonder if Padres fans, and players in both dugouts, who gave Ichuro a standing ovation, would do the same now for Mr. Rose.
And I wonder, in this era where the Hall of Fame voters are so enraged at the steroid era, and baseball cheats, whether they would vote ‘yes’ to Ichuro in Cooperstown?
Wonder what Pete Rose would say about that?