The 2017 MLB baseball season added another milestone Sunday afternoon as Adrian Beltre became the 31st player ever to have 3,000 career hits. The Texas Rangers veteran lined a ball down the third base line to achieve the milestone, commencing a giant celebration. Beltre’s family, teammates and hometown fans gave the 20th year third baseman his moment.
“What happened today was the best moment of my life,” Beltre said. “When I saw that, I felt like I was in the cloud because I really saw the joy in their faces. It was a nice moment to enjoy with them, my family, my wife.”
— MLB (@MLB) July 30, 2017
Stars Aligning for Beltre
One can not ignore the irony in Beltre’s historic hit as it came a few minutes after former Texas Ranger star Ivan Rodriguez concluded his induction speech at Cooperstown. Beltre himself might have punched his ticket to the Hall of Fame as all 31 players who have 3,000 or more career hits have been inducted or are expected to be. Beltre is only the third player to hit 3,000 career hits while primarily playing third base, joining George Brett and Wade Boggs.
The 3,000 career hits milestone is perhaps becoming a regularity in today’s game as some of baseball’s greats are getting to the finish line of their career. Just last season, Miami Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki achieved the milestone. The next player to be on the 3,000 watch is Los Angeles Angels first basemen Albert Pujols. The 37-year-old is currently 86 hits away from experiencing the moment Beltre felt on Sunday.
No Slowing Down
Most players do not produce as much as they used to when they reach the 3,000 hit mark but the same cannot be said about Beltre. The four time All-Star is still putting up big numbers as he is hitting .310 with nine home runs and 36 runs batted in.
Beltre entered the majors as a 19-year-old for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1998, now almost two decades later, he has cemented himself into baseball history.
“Never in my life did I think about collecting 3,000 hits, playing 20 years, hitting 400-plus homers,” Beltre said. “I never expected that.”
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) July 30, 2017