This week Adrián Beltré collected his historic 3000th hit when he smoked a double against Baltimore. The Texas Rangers slugger is one of only 31 players to reach this plateau. But, a closer look at how Beltré got here shows he is in a class all by himself.
Beltré may not have the star power of a Bryce Harper or a Mike Trout. Nor does he captivate the average fan the way a Gincarlo Stanton or an Andrew McCutchen might. What Beltré does do however, is hit the heck out of the baseball, and he’s been doing that for a very long time.
Right now, Beltré is one of only three Major Leaguers who began their time in the show in the last century. Since a teen aged Beltré first came up as a member of the Dodgers, the man has been raking with the best of them. His 450-plus home runs and better than 1,600 RBIs proves it. Not many have ever amassed those types of numbers, and none have done it with the same background as Beltré.
Of the 31 players to hit safely 3,000 times, only five of them are foreign born. Beltré is the first to hail from the Dominican Republic. The country has produced many a slick fielder and numerous great ball players, but none with the clout of this power Ranger.
Beltré’s on-field home also makes his achievement more rare. Most members of the 3,000 hit club were outfielders. Five played first base, while five more were shortstops. But few have ever been quite so hot from the hot corner. Beltré is only the third man to call third base his primary position and belt out this many hits. Wade Boggs and George Brett have some solid company.
It’s fitting that Beltré’s milestone hit was a two bagger. More than 20-percent of his career knocks have been doubles. He trails only the all-time leader in doubles Tris Speaker, as well as Craig Biggio, and Brett in that category. Beltré loves the extra base hit. Almost 37-percent of his hits have gone for extra bases, placing him number six all-time in that statistic.
Since joining the Rangers in 2011 Beltré has been a masher. Like his did in Los Angeles, Seattle, and Boston before, the mighty righty has found much success in Texas. Beltré has posted a .332 average in his home park. Yet there are places he does even more damage. A true road warrior, Beltré has compiled averages better than .350 in Minnesota, Montreal, Kansas City, and Colorado. At Coors Field he hits a lusty .400.
Beltré has come through in every type of situation against any type of pitcher. His accomplishments are vast and impressive.
Beltré has hit more than 100 dingers with three different clubs. He has hit for the cycle three times–tied for the MLB record. He plays the game with flair from his dropping to one knee when he connects with a fat one to his overall panache. A monster at the plate, Beltré can also flash the leather. He’s earned five Gold Gloves with his unique fielding style. A four-time All-Star and four-time Silver Slugger winner, Beltré has had his share of recognition. But if you really look at what he’s done-the longevity-the gaudy numbers, he has not had nearly the attention thrown his way that he probably deserves. Perhaps he’s thrived that way.
If it is possible to bang out 3,000 hits under the radar, Beltré has done just that. Sure, he’s getting a lot of press right now because of the impressive feat, but soon he will likely go back to the old grind. Blasting baseballs to every field whether you’re taking notice or not.
Adrián Beltré will be in the Hall of Fame when his career is all said and done. Maybe his plaque will say something along the lines of ‘Quiet man with a loud bat’. That’d probably be just fine with him.
Follow Kevin Scholla on Twitter @kevinscholla