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).