Pete Rose discounted Ichiro's career hits in Japan as they apply to the all-time hit record. (Peter Kramer/NBC)
All-time MLB hits leader Pete Rose dismissed New York Yankees outfielder Ichiro Suzuki's hit total in Japan as it applies to MLB records, telling USA Today's Bob Nightengale that it would be virtually impossible for Suzuki to catch him on the all-time hits list.
Suzuki collected his 4,000th hit on Wednesday, becoming the first player to reach the mark between playing in the major leagues in both Japan and the United States.
But Rose is only counting the 2,722 that Suzuki has in the U.S.
"He's still 600 hits away from catching Derek Jeter,'' Rose told USA Today. Jeter has 3,308 career hits. "So how can he catch me?''
Rose made it clear that he didn't want to discount what Suzuki had done in Japan, and he said that he viewed Suzuki as one of the greatest hitters of all-time. But he said that for record-keeping purposes should be viewed differently. He said that if Suzuki's standard applied to him, then he should get credit for his 427 career minor-league hits.
"I don't want to take anything away from him,'' Rose said, "but does anybody remember making a big deal when Henry Aaron had 755 homers and [Japanese slugger] Sadaharu Oh passed him?
"Are we now supposed to count Warren Moon's passing yards in the Canadian Football League to his NFL career stats?
"When you compare yourself to me, Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker and Nap Lajoie, we all did it in the states.''