Ja­pan hails Ichiro’s 3000-hit feat

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

JA­PAN cel­e­brated yes­ter­day af­ter baseball star Ichiro Suzuki be­came only the 30th mem­ber of Ma­jor League Baseball’s elite 3000-hit club, with grow­ing hopes he will be en­shrined in the Hall of Fame.

Tele­vi­sion footage showed busi­ness­peo­ple and shop­pers flock­ing at an Osaka rail­way sta­tion in western Ja­pan to grab “ex­tra” edi­tions pub­lished by the mass-cir­cu­la­tion Yomi­uri Shim­bun with a head­line say­ing: “Ichiro marks 3000 hits in USA”.

Public broad­caster NHK sent a news flash im­me­di­ately af­ter the 42-year-old Mi­ami Mar­lins cen­tre-fielder blasted a triple in the sev­enth in­ning against the Colorado Rock­ies. The Mar­lins won 10-7 on Au­gust 6 in Den­ver.

“It was a long-awaited mo­ment for all of Ja­pan as well as the United States,” Chief Cabi­net Sec­re­tary Yoshi­hide Suga told re­porters.

“I want to heartily ex­press my con­grat­u­la­tions on his achieve­ment of the bril­liant record in the Ja­panese and US baseball world,” the top gov­ern­ment spokesman said.

The Saga Shim­bun, a lo­cal news­pa­per in south­west­ern Ja­pan, also is­sued an on­line ex­tra edi­tion, say­ing, “He is cer­tain to get into the Baseball Hall of Fame.”

Ichiro tied late Pitts­burgh Pi­rates great Roberto Cle­mente for 29th place on baseball’s all-time hit list. He also had an in­field sin­gle in the Au­gust 6 game to bring him within one of the mile­stone.

“This is a real mile­stone that Amer­ica also can’t help but ac­knowl­edge,” said Sada­haru Oh, Ja­pan’s re­tired home-run king, re­fer­ring to some opin­ions in the US af­ter Ichiro in June smacked his 4257th ca­reer hit – di­vided be­tween his early years in Ja­panese pro­fes­sional baseball and sub­se­quent stints with sev­eral MLB clubs.

That sum to­tal has re­sulted in some US voices say­ing the haul is not in the same class as that of the leg­endary Pete Rose, who gar­nered his Ma­jor League record 4256 hits over a 24-year ca­reer, mostly with the Cincin­nati Reds.

“I was so moved at the mo­ment,” Suzuki’s fa­ther Nobuyuki, 73, told re­porters. “I hope he will con­tinue to play un­til the age of 50.”

Ichiro made his pro­fes­sional de­but for Ja­pan’s Orix BlueWave in 1992 be­fore mov­ing to the North Amer­i­can ma­jor leagues.

He be­came the first Ja­panese po­si­tion player in Ma­jor League his­tory in 2001, de­but­ing with the Seat­tle Mariners and earn­ing Amer­i­can League Rookie of the Year and Most Valu­able Player hon­ours.

Pro­foundly revered among Ja­panese public, Ichiro is a fre­quent sub­ject of tele­vi­sion doc­u­men­taries, de­tail­ing his stoic prepa­ra­tions for games dur­ing and be­tween sea­sons. –

Photo: AFP Photo: AFP

A man dis­trib­utes spe­cial ex­tra edi­tions of a news­pa­per to passers-by in Tokyo on Au­gust 8 re­port­ing that Mi­ami Mar­lins out­fielder Ichiro Suzuki notched his 3000th ca­reer hit in US Ma­jor League Baseball. Ichiro Suzuki of the Mi­ami Mar­lins be­came just the 30th US Ma­jor League Baseball player to get 3000 ca­reer hits on Au­gust 7, with a triple in the sev­enth in­ning.

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