August 07, 2016

Ichiro finally reaches 3,000 major league hits: Fittingly for one of the game's most unique hitters, the slap-hitting wizard got his 3,000th hit as a triple (video) off the right field wall in the 7th inning of the Miami-Colorado game, capping an illustrious major league career.

Or possibly not "capping": while not the same electric All-Star hitter he was in those first 10 years after breaking in as a much-hyped 27-year-old rookie for Seattle in 2001- when he racked up 10 straight 200-hit seasons including the single-season record of 262- he is still a productive player this year, hitting .318 (110 OPS+) in limited playing time with Miami. Seemingly ageless, he has even said he'd like to play until he is 50, which for a player of his style and rigorous fitness regimen isn't beyond the realm of possibility, potentially adding to his already gaudy career statistics and delaying what is almost certain to be a first-ballot HoF induction.

posted by hincandenza to baseball at 10:15 PM - 3 comments

Interestingly, in this longer streamable vid that contains more of the players congratulating Ichiro, you can see none other than Barry Bonds- the current Miami hitting coach who was blacklisted from the game only 14 hits shy of the same milestone- congratulating Ichiro on his accomplishment. Who could have predicted that in 2016, both players would be wearing Marlins jerseys when hit number 3,000 came. :)

posted by hincandenza at 10:30 PM on August 07, 2016

Tangentially related, I was surprised to find that Adrian Beltre is next up on the active players list with 2,876 hits. He's currently 37 and has a contract through 2018 with the Rangers, and is still an everyday player, so barring injury or cataclysmic drop-off he should get his 3,000th hit sometime after the All-Star break next season. Even if he just finishes out his Texas contract, he'll likely be well over 3,000 hits, around ~460HR, while being one of the very, very best players to ever wield a glove on the hot corner (although he has fewer Gold Gloves than Derek Jeter, so it's questionable that anyone voting for the HoF remotely understands how to evaluate defensive play).

I used to love watching Beltre play in Seattle (and in his one season with the Red Sox), but as good as he is defensively I've never really thought of him as a premiere offensive threat, and I wonder if that lack of being a "water cooler name" will hurt him in the HoF voting.

posted by hincandenza at 12:24 AM on August 08, 2016

For the past 3 years, there have been three active players that have had their names debated about for the "Is He a Hall of Famer?" discussions by the sabremetric community: Ichiro, Beltre, and David Ortiz.

Ichiro is going to fly in because while his advanced stats don't scream HOF, the narrative for him is much easier after reaching 3000 (and "4257"). Throw in the fact that no one in MLB can seem to find a bad thing to say about him (and tell many fantastic stories about him), that he's a pioneer (first great NPB hitter in MLB), and fan/writer favourite for those that hate the "three true outcomes" modern hitting style, and he'll probably be a first ballot winner.

Beltre is probably going to sale in as a first-ballot nominee because they probably won't vote on him for at least 7 or 8 years from now, and that will allow more of the sabremetric writers to get a ballot. He'll have the 3000 hits, the home runs, and the sterling defensive reputation, and the consistency.

Ortiz is the great dividing line for HOF voters. His discussion will be the most contentious of them all, with people lining up on both sides with stats and narrative in their support.

posted by grum@work at 06:52 AM on August 08, 2016

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