Sometime this week, or maybe the next, Ichiro Suzuki of the Miami Marlins will break Pete Rose’s hallowed record for most career hits.

Before you get excited, there are caveats to that, of course. Ichiro only breaks the record if you include the 1278 he got while playing in Japan. And, if you’re going to do that, you might as well include Pete’s 400-500 hits from minor league teams. But if you’re going to do THAT, you have to take into account that the Japanese league plays significantly fewer games than the US each season. But then … and then …

I get it. This isn’t a debate about who holds the record. Rather, it’s a conversation about records in general.

Most Reds fans who were alive at the time, know where they were when Pete broke the record. We remember it like it was yesterday.

It was a cool evening. I remember that. It was one of the first evenings in early Fall when the temperature had dropped a bit and the humidity had evaporated enough for us to open the back door to the house, allowing for a full view of the woods behind, which had only just begun to change colors. We had the Reds game on the tv with the volume turned down, and the radio tuned to 700 WLW so we could listen to Marty and Joe call the game.

I sat on the living room floor, watching and listening as Rose stepped to the plate. It was his first at-bat of the game, and I was so nervous and petting the family dog – a beagle named Murphy – so vociferously, I practically pulled his ears out of his head. He loved that.

The crowd rose to its feet as Eric Show when into his windup. Marty called it. “Rose levels the bat. Show kicks and he fires, Rose swings and…”

And the stadium erupted, with Joe Nuxhall screaming, “That’s it! There it is! Get down!” as the ball dropped into the outfield for a hit. My family erupted as well, even my sister who never really liked baseball all that much. It was a wonderful moment; one I will remember the rest of my life.

That doesn’t happen much anymore. When Rose broke Ty Cobb’s record (yes, I know he ACTUALLY broke it in Chicago, but we didn’t know that back then), it seemed like the whole world watched. Even if you think Ichiro is light years away from breaking Rose’s record, he IS bearing down on 3000 hits and, earlier this season, eclipsed 500 stolen bases. A-Rod is 6 homeruns away from being only the third player in history to hit 700 homeruns and, if not for a recent power slump following a hamstring injury, could very well have passed Babe Ruth this season.

Now, with Ichiro on the verge of breaking Rose’s record, the biggest sports stories in the news are lingering Muhamad Ali tributes, a few side stories about the Olympics, and what kind of shoes Steph Curry is wearing.

Why is that? Why don’t the records, the big numbers, capture our attention?

Ichiro Suzuki will break Pete Rose’s record soon. I hope a few people at least will be watching.

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10 Responses

  1. seat101

    Ichiro Sazukl’s case I have seen no mention of a countdown. Countdowns are a find a way to capture people’s attention. And as you mentioned there are two different leagues into separate countries, and whether or not Pete’s minor-league should count.

    Generally though, I need to pretty obvious why no one cares that much about a tainted record by a tainted player. To my way of thinking, Rodriguez is nowhere near getting any record. And apparently plenty of people see it my way.

    • ohiojimw

      The other side of the coin is that during the era Rose played, by many accounts amphetamines were readily available, even to the point of being out in the open in dishes, like candy, in several clubhouses. Are not these PEDs in their own fashion?

      Additionally, in such an atmosphere with no hint of monitoring and control, we can only speculate who might or might not have also been using the steroids of the day. They certainly were being used by body builders and weight lifters. Why shouldn’t we assume (some) baseball players were also using them. But who?

      Maybe realizations like this have devalued the import of all records in many fans eyes and hearts.

    • seat101

      I really need to look at my post when I do them by VR. Phonetically it makes sense but it doesn’t read very sensibly.

  2. Jay

    Plain and simple 4257 mlb hits needed.

  3. Chuck Schick

    No one cares because it’s a made up, Hallmark Holiday of a record.

    Rose has the most hits in MLB history. That is an actual record.

    • lwblogger2

      Right. It’s an MLB record. Look, Rose isn’t even close to my favorite player or person but he has the most hits in MLB history. (that’s a period)

  4. David

    I knew Rose (sure I did ) through about 2 degrees of separation. I guy I worked for played in the minor leagues with him and would have lunch with him every so often back in the ’60’s. A couple of other people I knew, knew him socially. To most men, Rose was a man’s man, very friendly conversational, always ready with a story. One woman I knew thought he was the most egotistical man she ever met, because he was always on the make (this was in the ’70’s).
    Rose was a great baseball player, and is the MLB leader in hits. I don’t think those of us alive now will ever see his better. And Ichiro is a great player, terrific outfielder in his prime, and by all accounts a really great guy.
    And let’s leave it at that.

  5. PRoseFutureHOFer

    I don’t recall Sadahara Oh being listed amongst the all time home run leaders. Ichiro is 6 great seasons away from catching Rose. ANY implication that Ichiro is threatening Rose’s record is an insult to Rose and an insult to MLB.

  6. Ben

    They didn’t count games played in Japan when Ichiro won Rookie of the Year, so they shouldn’t count his hits from the Japanese league either. (In other words, if we are counting pre-MLB games, then he wasn’t a rookie when he won Rookie of the Year.)