Mr. 4,000

  • Rick Chandler

Today Ichiro Suzuki singled off the Blue Jays’ R.A. Dickey in the first, making him only the third player in pro baseball history with 4,000 or more hits. Of course only 2,722 of those came in the U.S., but it would be fun to debate whether Suzuki is the best hitter in baseball history, should he surpass Pete Rose’s mark of 4,256. (Ichiro had 1,278 hits in his seven seasons in the Japanese Pacific League).

As it is, Ichiro has more hits than any Major Leaguer since 2001 — the year he came to the U.S.

Ichiro, who will turn 40 in October, has one more season remaining on his two-year, $13 million deal. Following the game today, he needed a translator to answer every question, except for this one:

“It’s not a goal that I have,” Ichiro said of catching Rose. “It’s not a number that I’m looking at. I’m just coming to the ballpark every day seeing if I’m in the lineup, keeping my schedule so that I’m in the lineup so that I can perform and do what I can to contribute to this team.”

The anti-A-Rod — a tonic for a weary nation.

Photo: Getty Images.