The MLB 4,000 hit club has two members: Pete Rose (4,256) and Ty Cobb (4,189). We all know this. When Ichiro Suzuki reached 4,000 hits combining his MLB hits and NPB hits, it set off some talk about who has reached 4,000 hits across all levels of professional baseball—and it became contentious when some started calling him the “Hit King” when his total surpassed Rose’s MLB-only total.
Using SABR, and BBR as my sources, I’ve compiled a list of players in the 4,000 professional hits club. SABR did this a few years ago—the names have not changed, but the order and some totals have. I do not claim the totals are absolute, either, as Negro League stats are not complete. It’s the same reason we don’t know exactly how many homers Josh Gibson hit.
Anyway, here’s the list:
1) Pete Rose, 4,769 hits. 4,256 in the majors, 427 in the minors, and 86 in the postseason.
2) Ichiro Suzuki, 4,394 hits. 3,089 in the majors, 1.278 in NPB, and 27 postseason.
3) Ty Cobb, 4,379 hits. 4,189 in the majors, 166 in the minors, 17 in the postseason, 7 in the Cuban League.
4) Julio Franco, 4,367 hits. This was the most complicated one. He had 2586 hits in the majors, 625 in the minors, 70 in independent leagues, 286 in NPB, 156 in KBO, 358 I’m Mexican Leagues, and 267 in Dominican winter league.
5) Henry Aaron, 4245 hits. 3771 in the majors, 324 in the minors, 84 in Puerto Rican winter league, 41 in Negro League, and 26 postseason. Note that you can deduct every one of his 755 major league homers, and he would still have over 3,000 major league hits.
6) Derek Jeter, 4,219 hits. 3,465 in the majors, 554 in the minors, and 200 in the postseason—far more in the postseason than anyone else on the list.
7) Jigger Statz, 4,093 hits. He’s the outlier as 3356 of his hits came in the PCL and only 737 in MLB.
8) Minnie Minoso, 4073 hits. The first black player in the majors in Chicago, and he really needs to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. He had 1,963 hits in the majors, 128 documented in the Negro Leagues, 838 in the Cuban League, and 715 in Mexico.
9) Stan Musial, 4,023 hits. 3630 in the majors, 371 in the minors, and 22 in the postseason. He’d likely have had another 200 or so on his major league total if he hadn’t missed a year due to military service.