Wednesday, August 19, 2015

4,000 Professional Hit Club

Recently Ichiro Suzuki surpassed Ty Cobb on the hit list.  Which hit list?  The one where you combine MLB regular season and Japanese League hits.  Good for him.

Two years ago fellow SABR member Scott Simkus assembled a list of hits accumulated in professional leagues.  He shows those players who have collected 4,000 hits or more.

Scott includes the following hits: MLB, MLB Postseason, MiLB, Japanese League, Negro League, Cuban League, Mexican League, Puerto Rican Winter League, Korean League, and other misc appearances.

I decided to update and expand the list. It is a Google Sheet.  No additional players have made it to 4,000.

I've added a few more players that didn't make Scott's list.  For whimsy I added a few more names and showed where the hits came from.

I've even added some hits that aren't part of the canon.  While looking at Honus Wagner's minor league stats, I noticed that they didn't include data from 1895.  He bounced around with a few teams in a few leagues that year.  I was able to find some stats from the Michgan State League.

Jackson Citizen Patriot (Jackson, Michigan) - October 3, 1895
image from
What do you know?  Another 27 professional hits.  I've included them in my calculations.  I'm guessing that eventually someone will produce the hits from his time in the Interstate League and the Oil and Iron League.

Ty Cobb played in the 1904 Tennessee-Alabama League.  Should hits from those games be included?  I think so.  Another SABR member, Bill Plott, has spent some time compiling stats for that league. I have not include those hits, although I should.  Will those hits make him eclipse Pete Rose?   No, but I think it is important history.  Some would argue that the TN-AL league hits shouldn't be allowed as it is considered an outlaw league.  I'd say yes, it was a professional league.  My definition of professional is: Was it organized?  Did the players get paid a salary?  Pro!

The News (Chattanooga, Tennessee) - June 3, 1904
image from the Chattanooga Public Library

Should one include postseason hits from the minors?  And from the Japanese League?  What about Japanese Minor League hits?  What about Venezuelan Winter ball?  Yes, this opens up a can of worms.  Barnstorming?  Only games against other professional teams?  Where does it end?  Or where did it begin?

1 comment:

  1. You'll have to update your Google sheet, as Julio Franco is still an active player:
    God bless him.