Only a couple of dozen players have more career hits than Ichiro Suzuki, who ranks 25th on the majors’ all-time list with 3,027. But even fewer rank ahead of him on another all-time list that he would rather not be on: most games played without ever appearing in a World Series.
With 2,494 games under his belt, Ichiro ranks sixth all-time among players who have never played for a ring.
“Since I’ve never been, I don’t even know what that’s like,” Ichiro said of the World Series. “So once I go, then I think I’ll be able to say, ‘I missed out on this.’ ”
The only major leaguers who played in more games without reaching the World Series are: Rafael Palmeiro (2,831), Ken Griffey Jr. (2,671), Andre Dawson (2,627), Ernie Banks (2,528) and Julio Franco (2,527).
Barring a miracle finish by the Marlins, Ichiro will go another season without appearing in the Fall Classic. He’s come close twice: as a rookie with Seattle in 2001 and with the Yankees in 2012. Both teams reached the American League Championship Series before losing.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly can empathize.
Mattingly played in 1,785 games — all with the Yankees — but never made it to the World Series.
“It’s definitely the goal of every player,” Mattingly said.
Asked if he feels it’s the one accomplishment missing in his baseball career, Ichiro replied: “That’s a question I think is so obvious, you don’t even have to ask. That’s what everybody’s out to do.”
TAKING THE HITS
Derek Dietrich all but cemented the National League hit by pitch title on Thursday when he was plunked for the 23th time this season.
“I think that sealed it,” Dietrich said.
Dietrich leads the Nationals’ Danny Espinosa, who has been hit 20 times. No Marlin has ever led the league in the category.
Thursday’s plunking ended a drought for Dietrich, who had gone 41 consecutive plate appearances without being hit by a pitch.
“I was still [crowding the plate],” Dietrich said. “But they weren’t throwing inside as much. It’s a cat-and-mouse game.”
The plunkings have enhanced Dietrich’s career-high on-base percentage of .379.
“They’re just as good as walks,” Dietrich said, “even though they hurt a little more.”
▪ The Marlins announced Friday that right-handed pitcher Luis Castillo and third baseman Brian Anderson were the organization’s minor-league pitcher and hitter of the year, respectively.
Castillo went 8-4 with a 2.07 ERA for Single A Jupiter. He was probably better known as the pitcher who was traded to the Padres in the Andrew Cashner deal but was then traded back immediately for injured starter Colin Rea.
Anderson split the season at Jupiter and Double A Jacksonville, combining to hit .265 with 11 homers.
▪ Saturday: Marlins LHP Wei-Yin Chen (5-4, 5.04 ERA) vs. Atlanta Braves RHP Aaron Blair (1-6, 7.71), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
▪ Sunday: Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (16-8, 2.86) vs. Braves RHP Julio Teheran (6-10, 3.10), 1:10 p.m., Marlins Park.