TOKYO: Japanese superstar Ichiro Suzuki was recognized by Guinness World Records as professional baseball’s base hit king on Friday after taking his count in Japan and Major League Baseball to 4,257.
The 42-year-old Miami Marlins outfielder last week etched his own piece of baseball history, surpassing Pete Rose’s fabled MLB record of 4,256 set between 1963 and 1986.
Ichiro, one of a few global sports icons predominantly known by his first name, sparked joy back home in Japan after overtaking Rose’s total.
However, his milestone was greeted less enthusiastically in the United States, as well over 1,000 of his hits came while playing in Japan.
Rose himself discredited Ichiro’s record, sniffing: “The next thing you know, they’ll be counting his high-school hits.”
The decision by Guinness to recognise Ichiro’s achievement is unlikely to improve the mood of the former Cincinnati Red.
Ichiro has shrugged off Rose’s thorny remarks, insisting the mark “wasn’t a goal or anything — it was a weird situation to be in”.
The chase for 3,000 MLB hits—a goal he calls a “no-brainer”—is on, meanwhile, with Ichiro currently just 18 hits shy of that target.
Ichiro made his professional debut for Japan’s Orix BlueWave in 1992 before moving to the North American major leagues and joining the Seattle Mariners amid great fanfare in 2001.
He has set several MLB batting records, including the single-season record for hits with 262.
Ichiro also posted 10 consecutive 200-hit seasons, the longest streak ever, and helped Japan win the World Baseball Classic in 2006 and 2009.