With a triple off the wall at Coors Field on Aug. 7, Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki collected his 3,000th Major League Baseball hit. The lead-up to that moment had been filled with excitement and anticipation.
But now a month after that milestone, Ichiro just keeps on hitting. Since then, he has accumulated 21 more hits and passed Rafael Palmeiro on Wednesday night to take over the 26th spot on the all-time list as he continues his climb into the upper echelon of the greatest hitters ever just a short time after No. 3,000 tied him with Roberto Clemente at 30th.
Clemente played 17 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates and amassed exactly 3,000 hits in those 17 seasons. He died in a plane crash in the offseason after 1972 while delivering aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
A second-inning single in an Aug. 10 game at home against the San Francisco Giants put Ichiro alone at 29th all-time with 3,001 hits.
A single to left field in the eighth inning of an Aug. 18 game at Cincinnati was Ichiro’s 3,007th career MLB hit. That put him in a tie with Al Kaline for 28th. Kaline played 22 seasons with the Detroit Tigers and got his 3,000th hit in 1974.
Two days later, on Aug. 20 at a game in Pittsburgh, Ichiro’s double moved him into sole possession of 28th on the all-time list.
A fourth-inning bloop single to left-center field at Citi Field on Aug. 29 gave Ichiro 3,010 hits, tying him with Wade Boggs for 27th all-time. Boggs played 18 years in the majors with three different teams and got his 3,000th hit in 1999 with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Four innings later in that same game, Ichiro doubled to right-center for his 3,011th MLB hit.
Ichiro has had 10 more hits since then, the two most recent ones coming in Wednesday night’s 6-0 victory over the Phillies, to give him 3,021 — one more than Palmeiro for 26th on the list. The two-hit performance came one night after Ichiro knocked a pitch out of Marlins Park when he came into the game off the bench for the first pinch-hit home run of his career.
Palmeiro played 19 seasons with five different teams. His 3,000th hit came in 2005 with the Baltimore Orioles.
After Palmeiro comes Lou Brock (3,023), who played 19 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals and got his 3,000th hit in 1979.
There are 22 games left in the season for Ichiro’s climb to continue.