Ichiro joins MLB's exclusive 3,000-hit club

Sun Aug 7, 2016 9:18pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Japanese outfielder Ichiro Suzuki of the Miami Marlins on Sunday became the 30th Major League Baseball player to reach the 3,000-hit milestone, an exclusive club that is considered the greatest measure of hitting excellence and physical endurance.

Ichiro, who in 2001 became the first Japanese position player, or nonpitcher, in MLB, joins Roberto Clemente (Puerto Rico), Rod Carew (Panama) and Rafael Palmeiro (Cuba) as the only members of the 3,000-hit club born outside the United States.

In the midst of an improbable resurgence with the Marlins at the age of 42, Ichiro achieved the feat against the Colorado Rockies on his fourth at-bat of the day when he slugged a triple off the right field wall in the seventh inning in Denver.

"My first three at-bats (my body felt so heavy). But after that hit a burden was lifted,” Ichiro told reporters.

The historic hit nearly was a home run, but bounced off the top of the wall and eluded Colorado outfielder Gerardo Parra.

Ichiro reached third base while standing up and stood there

nonchalantly as though it was just another routine hit.

The Colorado crowd gave him a rousing ovation while Suzuki's teammates poured out of the third-base dugout to celebrate the moment. Rockies' players stood and applauded at the dugout rail.

"More than the number itself, you saw my team mates come out and how happy they were and how warm the fans were," Ichiro said. "It's about my team mates and the fans, and that’s how I felt today."   Continued...

Aug 7, 2016; Denver, CO, USA;  Miami Marlins right fielder Ichiro Suzuki (51) prepares to triple for his career three thousand base hit in the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports