There are 28 players in MLB history that have reached the 3000 hit mark. Only 2 players, Pete Rose (4256) and Ty Cobb (4191) have ever surpassed 4000 career hits.
So even though Ichiro Suzuki hitting 4000 counts both his 1278 hits in Japan and his 2722 in MLB, it is a feat to be recognized. With two more seasons Ichiro will have more hits than anyone ever, and pass 3000 in MLB. That also should be recognized, even if it is with an asterisk.
So now the question is, can anyone else ever get to 4000 hits in a career?
Derek Jeter is the only active player with more than 3000 MLB hits. He ranks 10th all-time with 3308. He’d have to play at least four, maybe five or six more seasons to have a chance at it. Based on where his career is now, it seems like a long shot he’ll play that much longer.
ARod is actually 83 hits away from 3000, but I’d consider it highly unlikely he sticks around for 6-7 more years to make a run at it.
Todd Helton, Miguel Tejada, and Adrian Beltre are the next highest guys on the hit list. Beltre will have a shot at 3000, but the other two are at the end of the road.
The next guy on the list is the man I believe that has the best opportunity.
Missing the rest of this year will hurt, but if you look at the incredible pace he has set for himself if he can play 10 more years and average a reasonable 166 hits per season he can reach the 4000 hit mark.
Perspective: Pujols averaged 187 hits per year for the first 12 years of his career. He had 101 this year before being injured.
Beyond Pujols, nobody with 2000 hits that is active has any shot. They are all too old already and most won’t even challenge 3000 hits.
The next best shot might belong to Robinson Cano or Mike Trout. Cano would likely take 12 years at a similar production. He’s averaged 182 hits a year and is on pace for around that again this season.
And Trout you are looking at 18 more years. He had 182 hits last season and has 156 so far this year.
So yes, that is why we should celebrate Ichiro. This should give you an idea of how great a hitter he actually is and was. It will be at least another 10 years before we might have the opportunity of celebrating 4000 present itself again.