Pete Rose discounts Japanese hits for Ichiro, considers hit record safe
Pete Rose, while banned from baseball, is not banned from speaking to the media, and makes sure he does regularly. It was a natural fit for his thoughts on former Seattle Mariners and current New York Yankees OF Ichiro Suzuki reaching the 4,000 professional major league hit plateau, joining Rose (as the only living members) and Ty Cobb in a “great triumvirate” of hit kings. However, Pete is not rolling out the red carpet to the newest member, clearly counting only those who hit in Major League Baseball as valid. Ichiro earned 1,278 of his 4,000 in the Japanese Pacific League before making his way to MLB (before making your way to the MLB was cool in Japan). According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports, Rose scoffed at the notion that his hit record was in jeopardy:
“He’s still 600 hits away from catching Derek Jeter, so how can he catch me?…Hey, if we’re counting professional hits, then add on my 427 career hits in the minors. I was a professional then, too.”
Jeter is the active leader in hits with over 3,300, so the reference there is clear to only count Ichiro’s 2700+ within MLB. I personally take issue with the media talking “professional” hits, because Rose is right, minors are professional. The word “major” must be injected to qualify what Ichiro has done. A career in which Rose is in admiration of:
“Listen, if I’m voting today for the Hall of Fame, Ichiro has got my vote. He’s got the  Gold Gloves. The golden arm. A lot of hits. There’s really nothing wrong with his game. I wouldn’t even make him wait five years, I’ll tell you that.”
Pete Rose is starting to sound like the crotchety old man talking about the old days (hard to believe he is 72 years old). He makes his points, he makes money off of autographs, he likes being in the spotlight, and he likes being the all-time hit king, and, in his world, will be so no matter what Ichiro does over the next year and a half.