Adrian Beltre is right on the doorsteps of entering one of Major League Baseball’s most exclusive and prestigious clubs, the 3,000 hit club. The long time third baseman could very well achieve this milestone before the weekend is over. He’s currently sitting on 2,996 hits so he could possibly knock it out tonight against in front of the home crowd as his Texas Rangers play host to the Baltimore Orioles.
We all know how fast time flies, the older we get, the faster it seems to go. I’ll be 40 in November and it’s interesting to look at how the careers of athletes play out and are perceived based on how old or young I am or was at the time.
This is the case in all sports across the board but I’ll just keep it to baseball and fellow 3,000 hit club members to be when it comes to Adrian Beltre. Is it just me or does it seem like his journey to 3,000 hits has been more quiet and subdued than a lot of the others who have reached this milestone?
I wasn’t even born when the Big Red Machine won their titles in the 1970’s and Pete Rose retired when I was eight years old, yet I remember the buzz when he joined the 4,000 hit club. Yes that’s an additional 1,000 hits and Cincinnati was the closest city to my hometown with a major league baseball team, but still.
Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez were both members of the New York Yankees when they joined this club so they definitely received more than their fair share of notoriety. Cal Ripken got a lot of attention as well as he acquired his 3,000th hit one year after ending his own record for consecutive games played at 2,632.
It even seemed like Craig Biggio and Ichiro Suzuki got more love as they approached 3,000. We haven’t even talked about Dave Winfield, Eddie Murray or Tony Gwynn or Rickey Henderson.
Maybe it’s due the fact that baseball doesn’t captivate the nation the way it once did. I didn’t even know Beltre was honing in on 3,000 hits until a few days ago when I heard on the radio that he was sitting on 2,993. His path has been quiet but he’s been just as consistent and durable as all of the members of the legendary club he will soon join. Beltre has been in the big leagues since 1998. From his first full season in 1999 until 2016 the fewest games he played in any season was 111 in 2009.
Beltre also called pitcher’s parks home for most of his career. This is Beltre’s 20th MLB season, he spent 12 of those years playing his home games in either Dodger Stadium or Seattle’s Safeco Field. Neither of these venues have ever been friendly to hitters historically.
Beltre has only been a part of the postseason five times and has only appeared in one World Series. The Rangers were excruciatingly close to defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2011 Fall Classic, but fell in seven agonizing games. What did Beltre do in those seven games? He raked to the tune of a .300 average with two doubles, two home runs and three RBI.
He’s more known for his disdain for having his head hit, tapped of touched as he is for hitting at the plate.
As quiet as his journey has been there was some noise accompanying noise earlier in the week when Beltre was ejected in On Deck Circle Gate.
The thing that’s really messed up is that Beltre was robbed of the chance to hit with the bases loaded in that situation. Even in this dust-up Beltre was still quiet, he never said a word. This wasn’t his fault at all, umpire Gerry Davis was just tripping again.
The bump in the road with Davis notwithstanding, Beltre is about to do something that only 30 other players have accomplished. When you get to 3,000 hits that means you’ve tied and are welcomed in by the great Roberto Clemente. Let that sink in. In addition to this, he has also hit 453 home runs and still has a shot to join to 500 home run club too.
Congrats in advance to Adrian Beltre. He deserves all of the accolades that he’s about to get.