The fact is, though, that Ichiro is probably better at the task of putting a bat on a pitched ball than anyone — ever — in history.
Is this true? It's actually quite possible. Ichiro has 2199 hits in under 10 seasons. If you include his Japanese numbers, he has 3600 professional hits. Perhaps he wouldn't have quite so many if he had played exclusively in America. But it would be pretty close. He started in the U.S. at age 27. If you assume 5 additional seasons averaging 220 hits, which is pretty reasonable and doesn't even include a cup of coffee he probably would have received a previous year or two, that would give him about 3300 hits at the age of 36. 3300 hits alone would make Ichiro 11th in major league history. He will gets 200 hits for the 10th consecutive season this year. Only Pete Rose has 10 200 hit seasons, and they weren't consecutively. If he had 3300 hits now, he'd need less than 600 to be in the top 3 all time. Ichiro almost assuredly has 600 more hits in him.
Will Ichiro reach 3000 American hits? It's hard to say. He needs another 801 and he is 36 years old. That would mean averaging 200 hits a year into his age 40 season. I don't know if he can do that. But he is a truly remarkable athlete who has already done things no one else has. Maybe he should take a few more walks and maybe he doesn't hit for any power, but he is an amazing player for what he does do and anyone who doesn't vote for Ichiro as a 1st ballot Hall of Famer should have their voting privileges stripped.