Never one to hide his opinion, Pete Rose, Major League Baseball’s all-time hit king, weighed in on Ichiro Suzuki‘s passing of the 4,000-hit plateau this week.
“He’s still 600 hits away from catching Derek Jeter,” Rose told USA TODAY, “so how can he catch me?”
Ichiro has recorded 2,722 hits since breaking into the majors in 2001. His career total comes to 4,000 if you count the 1,278 he recorded while playing professionally in Japan prior to making his major league debut.
Rose does not.
“Hey, if we’re counting professional hits,” Rose said, “then add on my 427 career hits in the minors. I was a professional then, too.
“If you look at the records, Henry Aaron has 4,000 professional hits. So did Stan Musial.”
Under that line of thinking, Rose’s career hit total would come to 4,683, while Aaron and Musial would have racked up 4,095 and 4,001, respectively.
Rose said he has nothing for respect for Ichiro, whom he considers a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He would, however, like the major league record books to remain consistent.
“I don’t want to take anything away from [Suzuki],” Rose said, “but does anybody remember making a big deal when Henry Aaron had 755 homers and [Japanese slugger] Sadaharu Oh passed him? Are we now supposed to count Warren Moon‘s passing yards in the Canadian Football League to his NFL career stats?
“When you compare yourself to me, Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker and Nap Lajoie, we all did it in the states.”