Yankees outfielder Ichiro Suzuki slapped a first-inning single into left field Wednesday off Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey for his 4,000th professional hit between North America and Japan. Ichiro was then mobbed at first base by his Yankees teammates and saluted in unique fashion by Jays second baseman and fellow countryman Munenori Kawasaki.
You’re going to want to watch this highlight:
Ichiro tallied 1,278 hits in Nippon Professional Baseball and has 2,722 hits and counting in MLB.
The 39-year-old is one of only five players in the history of the sport to collect more than 4,000 combined hits as a pro and the rest of the list is like a baseball Mount Rushmore. Pete Rose had 4,683 hits between the minors and major leagues, Ty Cobb had 4,357, Hank Aaron had 4,095 and Stan Musial had 4,001.
Fox Sports Detroit has named Matt Shepard their new full-time play-by-play guy for Tigers games. Shepard will work with analysts Jack Morris and Kirk Gibson, who will split time.
This is the move in response to former longtime announcers Mario Impemba and Rod Allen getting suspended and later fired following an in-booth altercation in Chicago last September. The two of them, who weren’t exactly friends, reportedly fought over a chair, with conflicting reports of how serious the fight was. An anonymous witness said Allen put Impemba in a choke hold. Allen recently gave an interview in which he denied that and said it was only some pushing and shoving. Either way, it ended their 16-year team-up for Tigers games.
Shepard has worked for Fox Sports Detroit for nearly 20 years, doing fill-in play-by-play for the Tigers — he replaced Impemba for the last few weeks of last season — and for Detroit Pistons games. Gibson has been a part time analyst for the network for the past couple of seasons, splitting time with Allen. Morris has done Tigers, Blue Jays and Twins games over the years, sometimes even splitting time between the Twins and Tigers, which is rather unusual.
Shepard is pretty good at his job. While Tigers fans liked and were familiar with Impemba, there won’t be a falloff in quality. Gibson makes some good analytical points and has a surprisingly sharp and biting sense of humor about him, but his gruff and monotone delivery is not everyone’s cup of tea. You get used to it. Morris is not my cup of tea — he tends to do a lot of the “back in my day” stuff former players often do — but I’m pretty sure he could recite the dictionary on TV in Detroit and a lot of Tigers fans would tune in. Such is life.