Ichiro vs Votto

Someone on Facebook is trying to infer Joey Votto is better than Ichiro Suzuki.

It’s an interesting point how Votto has a much better OPS than Ichiro. Votto also has more HR and WAR.

You can look at all the various career stats, but in this case, it doesn’t do much good.

Ichiro will 100% be a first-year HOFer. He might even get in with a unanimous vote. Whereas Votto could possibly sneek into the HOF. Why is Ichiro in a COMPLETELY different class than Votto?

Here is a prime example of why setting records is such a big deal in sports

The key to Ichiro’s fame is that he broke the all-time hits record for one season. A once unbreakable record that stood since 1920. When you break a record like that, you are in another class.

Records owned by Ichiro

  1. Ichiro tallied 4,367 hits in his professional career, the most of any player in baseball history. He tallied 3,089 hits in Major League Baseball and 1,278 hits in Nippon Professional Baseball.
  1. Ichiro set the single-season record for most hits (262) in a season in 2004, breaking Hall of Famer George Sisler’s 84-year-old record for most hits (257).
  1. Ichiro tallied 242 hits as a rookie in 2001, breaking Hall of Famer Lloyd Waner’s rookie record for hits (223) set back in 1927.
  2. Ichiro won the 2001 American League Most Valuable Player Award, joining Fred Lynn (1975 Red Sox) as the only rookies to win the MVP. Ichiro is the only first-year player to win an MVP.
  3. Ichiro registered 10 consecutive 200+ hit seasons from 2001–10, the only player in MLB history to do so. Pete Rose is the only other player to register 10 seasons of 200+ hits in a career.
  4. Ichiro won a Gold Glove Award in each of his first 10 seasons, joining Hall of Fame Reds catcher Johnny Bench (1968–77) as the only players to do so.
  5. Since 1990, Ichiro owns 3 of the top 4 seasons for most hits — registering 262 in 2004, 242 in ’01 and 238 in ’07.
  6. Ichiro never struck out four times in a game in 2,653 career Major League games.
    (not sure if this is a record)
  7. Ichiro led the Major Leagues in hits 7 times. That is tied for most ever with Ty Cobb and Pete Rose, ranking ahead of Tony Gwynn (6 times) and Stan Musial (5 times).

These are nine hand-picked examples from 51 Ichiro records listed by MLB.

What records does Votto hold?

Most of the records I could find for Votto are Reds franchise records or records for a Canadian-born player. Which, while impressive, we could come up with a ton more Mariners and Japanese-born records for Ichiro.

The only “records” I could find for Votto:

  1. Votto had a streak of consecutive games reaching base multiple times, which spanned 20 games and was the second longest in MLB history behind Ted Williams’ 1948 record of 21.
    (Technically, this isn’t even a Votto record, because he didn’t break Ted Williams’ record of 21 games.)
  2. The only players in history with better career BA, OBP, and SLG than Votto: Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby. This stat was from a 2017 tweet—that’s 7 years ago. This stat is no longer true as Votto aged in his later career. There are 24 players with a better career BA, OPB, and SLG.

Does Votto hold any MLB records?

Votto’s only possible MLB record

Votto is 2nd all-time for career assists as 1B. Votto has 1,758. Eddie Murray has 1,865. Thus, Votto needs 108 more assists to break the record. Can he break it?

The last time Votto had that many in a season was 2019 with 118. Perhaps if Votto can play two more seasons he might break the career record.

Votto recently signed with his hometown Toronto Blue Jays where Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. and Justin Turner play first base. Maybe they’ll slot over to DH for Votto to play first?

Via @joeyvotto’s Instagram

What is a 1B assist?

How is Eddie Murray first for all-time 1B career assists? The man has a -11.6 dWAR.

First basemen are most commonly credited with an assist when they field a ground ball and either throw the ball to the pitcher covering first base to retire the batter/runner or throw the ball to the shortstop covering the second base to force out a runner, perhaps beginning a double play.

List of Major League Baseball career assists as a first baseman leaders

So um, it’s basically a stat on how often your pitcher coves first base? That’s a great record to possibly hold. /s

Votto was 1st in the league 6 times for this stat. But that’s not even a record. Cap Anson and Fred Tenney both lead the league 8 times.

The single season record is held by Albert Pujols with 185 in 2009. Votto’s 2011 season with 173 assists ranks 4th all-time.

Side note

My personal Hall of Fame requires a player to be in the top ten for AB/SO, stolen bases, and zone runs. At least once in their career. The top ten achievements for any of these categories can happen in ANY year of the player’s career. It’s pretty rare for a player to achieve the top ten in all three categories IN THE SAME YEAR.

Yet, Ichiro did that for four seasons (2001, 2003, 2004, 2005). Note how three of them are consecutive seasons. The one year missing to make it five consecutive years is 2002. In that year he was in the top ten for AB/SO and stolen bases, missing out in zone runs. So he almost did it for five consecutive seasons.

Yeah, this a weird stat.

By the way, the only other player that I’m aware of to be in the top ten for AB/SO, SB, and Zone Runs for consecutive seasons is the Cubs’ Nico Hoerner. He’s accomplished that in 2022 and 2023. Here’s hoping he joins Ichiro in 2024.

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4 thoughts on “Ichiro vs Votto”

    1. Brad, you are right. Votto won’t sneak in. After writing this post, and reading your comment, I looked at his baseball-reference Hall of Fame numbers.
      The numbers do present a decent case for him being Hall of Famer.
      * Black ink: No
      * Gray ink: Yes
      * HOF Monitor: No
      * HOF Standards: No
      * JAWS: Yes

      Couple that with his personality, and he’ll definitely get in.

      I’d like to see Votto get in. We haven’t had a recent NL Central guy get into the HOF in quite some time. I’m not counting Cardinals. (So I’m not including Pujols or Rolen. Also I’m saying RECENT. So Baines, Maddux, and Lee Smith don’t count as recent)

      1. Wow, great reply! For players like Votto with long careers it would be interesting to have a callout of a specific time period. Like instead of Overall Stats it would be a stat line of the ten best years of the players career. It would need to be consecutive years. This wouldn’t apply to cumulative stats like hits and HR’s. But for BA, OBP, SLG, OPS there would be a * indicating this represents the best 10 year period(maybe 8 would be better). That way a player that was great for a long period of time isn’t dinged as much by longevity. Just thinking out loud as I wait for baseball to start…

        1. You are thinking right along the lines of the 7yr-peak WAR stat (in the screenshot). Although, WAR is cumulative.

          I was looking up the validity of a stat that I originally included in this blog post, “The only players in history with better career BA, OBP, and SLG than Votto: Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby.” Ends up, that trivia point is 7 years old! 24 other players now have a better AVG, OBP, SLG slashline than Votto. (although 25th is not too shabby either)

          While I was looking up that stat, i played around with looking at players’ first ten years of AVG, OBP, SLG. It’s not the same as what you are saying, because you are talking about a player’s ten PEAK years. Not just their first ten seasons.

          Since this tool uses the first ten seasons, let’s stick with that notion….

          Votto’s first ten seasons he had:
          .313 / .425 / .536

          Comparing that to other MLB players’ first 10 seasons (minimum 2,000 AB), we get nine players.

            Babe Ruth 0.346 / 0.477 / 0.708
            Oscar Charleston 0.377 / 0.461 / 0.647
            Lou Gehrig 0.343 / 0.444 / 0.64
            Jimmie Foxx 0.338 / 0.437 / 0.64
            Ted Williams 0.347 / 0.484 / 0.633
            Albert Pujols 0.331 / 0.426 / 0.624
            Todd Helton 0.333 / 0.43 / 0.593
            Stan Musial 0.347 / 0.431 / 0.584
            Frank Thomas 0.32 / 0.44 / 0.573
            Joey Votto 0.313 / 0.425 / 0.536

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