CINCINNATI -- For those who think Pete Rose's all-time hit record will never be broken, I give you these three young players: Starlin Castro, Jose Altuve and (to a lesser extent because of how much he walks and how much more he will walk in the future) Mike Trout.
My friend and co-author, Joel Luckhaupt, who is the statistical analyst for Reds games on Fox Sports Ohio and a WCPO contributor, provided me with this:
On the day Rose turned 26, he had his 726th career hit.
Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro turns 26 this offseason and already has 966 hits.
Astros second baseman Jose Altuve turns 26 in May next year and has 797 hits.
Angels outfielder Mike Trout turns 26 in August — of 2017! — and has 716 hits.
"So, there certainly are kids who can challenge, but as we all know it wasn't Pete's 20s that made him a hit king," Luckhaupt said. "It was his 30s."
Here's the whole list of players with 2000-plus hits after the age of 30:
Most Hits, age 30 season or later
Pete Rose - 2,724
Sam Rice - 2,561
Cap Anson - 2,398
Ichiro Suzuki - 2,265
Honus Wagner - 2,214
Paul Molitor - 2,116
Ty Cobb - 2,053
Stan Musial - 2,006
"It's not an easy list to get on," Luckhaupt said. "If I had to bet today on one player under the age of 26, I'd probably bet on Altuve. He has the right profile.
"I think Trout will start to walk more as he gets older (he already walks a lot as it is), which will make it harder for him," Luckhaupt said.
My addition to that what-might-be list — Altuve, Castro and Trout — is Ichiro Suzuki. What if a future Ichiro came to this country at 22 or younger?
Ichiro could have had 899 more hits had he gotten even Rose's age 22-start and matched Rose hit-for-hit those first five years instead of debuting in the States at 27, and being "only" 41 now with 83 hits already this season. This would have given Ichiro 3,826 hits instead of the 2,927 he presently has. Add on the 387 hits of Rose's ages 42-43-44-45 seasons and however many hits Ichiro gets the rest of this season (15?) for a career total of 4,228. I'd call that a run at Rose, wouldn't you?
To me, this is all very cool stuff. It keeps hope alive. I don't like records that are "unachievable." I like to think a future "super-great" can come along. After all, isn't that how the Major League Baseball All-Star Game just played in Cincinnati will likely be remembered: The year that youth was served?
John Erardi has covered baseball in Cincinnati for 30 years. He is a two-time Associated Press Ohio Sports Writer of the Year and co-author of six books on the Reds, including "Big Red Dynasty" and "Crosley Field."