No sooner than five years from now, the great Ichiro Suzuki will be voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on the first ballot. Ichiro still wants to play but remains unsigned. If he's unable to latch on anywhere, his five-year waiting period before appearing on the Hall of Fame ballot will begin. Clearly, Ichiro is a Hall of Famer. Despite not coming over from Japan until his age 27 season, he has amassed 3,080 big league hits and is a career .312/.355/.403 hitter with +59.6 WAR in MLB. Between Japan and MLB, Ichiro has 4,358 professional hits (and counting!) to his name, the most ever. We can debate all we want about whether Ichiro's combined hit total between Japan and MLB makes him the true hit king. There is no debate as to whether he is a Hall of Famer. His MLB body of work alone gets him. That is not the case for any other Japanese-born player, however. No other player has come over and has as much success as Ichiro. On the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time this year is former Yomiuri Giants and New York Yankees slugger Hideki Matsui, who played 10 years in Japan and another 10 years in MLB.
Should Japanese career be a HOF factor?
CBS Sports | Jan 2