DOES ICHIRO'S HIT TOTALS COMPARE TO PETE ROSE? by Tom Brennan
Just a very quick thought on the subject, and I am sure others have had the same thought:
YES, HIS HIT TOTALS DO COMPARE. WHY DO I SAY SO?
Ichiro played briefly as an 18 and 19 year old in Japan, 2 cups of sake, if you will.
In his first full year at age 20, he hit .385. THREE EIGHTY FIVE. Every case could be made that if he were in the US, he plays that year and wins rookie of the year.
In his 7 full years in Japan, he played 125 games per year, 135 being the most. In his 15 full years in the majors, he has averaged 157 games per year.
So let's assume that if he had played in the US in those early 7 years, he'd have not hit as well - he has, after all, averaged .314 in the bigs, .353 in Japan. But two things:
First, in the US, he probably pays 25-30 more games per year, and that would have offset the lower average he'd probably have had in the majors.
Second, he hit a much higher .331 in the majors for his first 10 years, running through age 36. It is quite likely he'd have hit about .330 in his earlier years had they been played in the US rather than Japan.
It is entirely possible that Ichiro would have MORE hits if his entire career was in the US than he does now.
Pete's record stands, but Ichiro's certainly warrants a huge asterisk.