If we lump in Ichiro Suzuki's hits in the Japan Pacific League, he eclipsed Pete Rose some time ago and now stands at 4,278 hits across his professional career.
But at Coors Field today, Ichiro made history with a triple off the right field wall.
And in a pretty incredible turn of events, I was there to witness it. I glanced at the schedule a couple weeks ago as Ichiro was sitting at 2,996, and realized that the Marlins would be in town right about now, with a chance to get #3,000 in Denver. The Marlins, of course, are in a different division, so this was the only time Miami would be visiting this season.
Ichiro hasn't been starting much this season, instead coming in as a pinch hitter more often than not. He's been slowly inching his way to the record all season long. He only has 65 on the year, a light season for him. But it doesn't really matter how long it takes to get there, as I mentioned toward the end of my previous post. What matters is that he got there, and earned quite a standing ovation in the process. Unlike Tulowitzki's return to Denver, when the fans took the lead on honoring Troy, the scoreboard and PA system were lit up with congratulations for Ichiro's historic achievement.
|2016 Topps #700A Ichiro Suzuki|
In over 65 ballgames that I've attended, I've seen quite a few great moments. The atmosphere of Opening Day and even a World Series game. Charlie Blackmon going 6-for-6. All sorts of offense by Rockies from Eric Young to Trevor Story. Lots of home runs and extra-base hits. Nolan Arenado flashing the leather. Todd Helton spearing some rocketing line drives. Opposing runners thrown out at the plate by Jeromy Burnitz. Inside-the-park home runs. Walkoff wins. And more often than not, a Rockies win.
The opposing teams are certainly included in those moments, such as home runs by some of the legends like Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and even Madison Bumgarner. Some pretty stellar pitching performances from everyone from Kevin Millwood to John Smoltz. A 20-run slugfest by the Yankees. Yoenis Cespedes flirting with a four-homer game. And more.
But seeing a legend like Ichiro Suzuki get hit #3,000 just might top that whole list. No doubt that ball will be in the Hall of Fame, and likely Ichiro with it. He's just the thirtieth player to reach that mark, and the timing couldn't have been better.
After Paul Molitor, he's just the second one to hit that milestone with a triple. A historic moment indeed. It was a privilege to witness it.