Welcome to the club, Adrian Beltre.
With his fourth inning double off Wade Miley in yesterday afternoon’s 10-6 home loss to the Baltimore Orioles, Beltre became just the 31st player in Major League history to record at least 3,000 hits. He’s also now the only Dominican-born player part of the elusive club, and second active member (Ichiro).
Fittingly, the third baseman’s milestone occurred on Hall of Fame Sunday; entering the 3,000-hit club is regarded by some people as a “lock” for induction.
Prior to Sunday’s 1 for 5 performance, Beltre had been on fire, hitting .457 (16 for 35) in his previous nine games.
Beltre, 38, is one of 10 players to reach 3,000 hits by their age-38 season or younger, one of four to record 3,000+ hits, 450+ home runs, and 600+ doubles in their career (Musial, Aaron, Yastrzemski), and is the only member of the club to record 750+ hits for three teams.
If Beltre reaches 500 career home runs (currently at 454), he’d join Hank Aaron as the only other player with 3,000+ hits, 500+ home runs, and 600+ doubles. Currently with nine homers this year, let’s say he hits eight more to finish the season with 17 and 462 for his career. Play at least two more years, average 19 dingers—so it’s definitely possible!
What an incredible run it’s been for Beltre, who’s currently in his 20th Major League season. The Texas Rangers are his fourth team, having been with them since 2011. Prior to that, he played for the Los Angeles Dodgers (1998-2004), Seattle Mariners (2005-2009), and Boston Red Sox (2010).
Set to become a free agent after 2018, Beltre’s career highlights include being a 4X All-Star, 5X Gold Glove winner, and 4X Silver Slugger; he’s also one of four players to hit for a record three cycles. His best season was 2004 when he set career highs in hits (200), total bases (376), runs scored (104), home runs (48- led majors), RBIs (121), batting average (.334), and slugging percentage (.629).
With 605 career doubles, Beltre’s in a three-way tie with Paul Molitor and Paul Waner for 13th most of all-time. His 1,607 RBIs are 35th most in history, and second among active players (Pujols- 1,880).
To cap off his offensive accomplishments, Beltre’s finished within the top-ten in his league in home runs/RBIs four times, batting average/slugging percentage five times, and OPS six times.
A sure Hall of Famer, it’s only a matter of when Beltre gets inducted. First ballot? That could very well be the case, as the credentials are without question there. He’s also been a model of consistency his whole career. From 1999-2016, he appeared in at least 143 games in 14 of those 18 years, never making less than 111 appearances—all while playing the hot corner.
Some may point out Beltre’s only been to the playoffs just five times in his career (four times in last six seasons) without ever winning a World Series, but that shouldn’t lessen his chances of making it first ballot. Because he should. A true professional, as underrated as they come, liked and respected by his fellow players.
Baseball will definitely miss Beltre when he’s gone, but hopefully he’ll remain around for a while.
Entering Monday’s home game against the Seattle Mariners, Beltre’s hitting .307/.382/.534 with nine homers and 36 RBIs this year in 51 games (made season debut May 29- leg injury).
Flyers Remove Statue of Kate Smith
The Philadelphia Flyers have joined the New York Yankees in the removal of ties to singer Kate Smith, whose famous rendition of “God Bless America” was played at both Flyers and Yankees games.
Earlier this week, the Yankees decided to suspend the use of Smith’s rendition, which was played during the seventh-inning stretch, while they investigated allegations of racism against the later singer.
According to a report from the New York Daily News, there are conflicting claims about Smith’s 1939 song “That’s Why Darkies Were Born” which
originated in the 1931 Broadway revue “George White’s Scandals” and was considered satire but includes racist language, including the line;
“Someone had to pick the cotton. … That’s why darkies were born.”
The song was recorded by Smith and Paul Robeson, who was black.
The Flyers put out the following statement on Sunday (h/t ESPN):
“The Flyers have enjoyed a long and popular relationship with ‘God Bless America,’ as performed by the late Kate Smith, a woman who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor for her patriotic contributions to our nation.
“But in recent days, we learned that several of the songs Kate Smith performed in the 1930s include lyrics and sentiments that are incompatible with the values of our organization, and evoke painful and unacceptable themes.”
Smith, who was popular during the WWII era, recorded the offensive jingle, “Pickaninny Heaven,” which she directed at “colored children” who should fantasize about an amazing place with “great big watermelons,” among various other treats.
Smith also endorsed the “Mammy Doll” back in 1939 which was based on a racist caricature of a black woman similar to Aunt Jemima.
“The Yankees have been made aware of a recording that had been previously unknown to us and decided to immediately and carefully review this new information,” a club spokesman said. “The Yankees take social, racial and cultural insensitivities very seriously. And while no final conclusions have been made, we are erring on the side of sensitivity.”
The odds aren’t good that Smith’s songs will return to their prominent places during sporting events such as they were with the Yankees and the Flyers.
There is a lot of cleaning up to do when it comes to racism in sports, and weeding out songs attached to artists with questionable, and controversial, backgrounds such as Smith’s, is important in pushing forward towards the future.
MLB Investigating Racist Social Media Messages Sent to Cubs’ Carl Edwards Jr.
Major League Baseball is investigating racial messages sent, via social media, to Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Carl Edwards Jr. prior to his demotion to the Triple-A Iowa Cubs back on April 6th.
According to The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney, the messages have caught the attention of both the Cubs and the MLB Players Association, leading to the launch of the investigation.
Mooney had been a solid bullpen option during the last few seasons, but had a nightmare start to the 2019 season posting a terrible 32.40 ERA in just 1.2 innings of work over four appearances.
Carlos Zambrano Attempting Comeback, Signs with Indy Team
Former MLB pitcher Carlos Zambrano is attempting a comeback and has signed with the American Association’s Chicago Dogs, according to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Gordon Wittenmyer.
Zambrano last pitched in the majors back in 2012 with the Miami Marlins, but earlier in his career he finished in the top five of the Cy Young voting in the National League three times as a member of the Chicago Cubs.
Zambrano started his comeback bid last fall when he took the mound for 7 starts in the Mexican League, pitching to the tune of a 5.18 ERA, and performing even worse during a short stint in the Venezuelan Winter League.
Given his recent lack of production, it is a longshot to believe that Zambrano will return to the MLB level, but stranger things have happened.
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