The hits just keep on coming for Adrian Beltre.
At some point this summer, the third baseman with the Texas Rangers will join the exclusive 3,000 hits club. Going into the weekend series against the Chicago White Sox, the 38-year old is 30 hits shy of the magical mark. His 2,970 hits is 32nd all-time in major league history. And as history goes, an entry into the club also gets you an entry into the Hall of Fame.
This career milestone could come sooner than expected. Beltre has multiple hits in four of his last eight games and has also hit safely in 20 of 26 games this season. Of course, we might have seen history in the making earlier in the season if it wasn’t for a right calf injury that sidelined Beltre for the first couple of months.
The injury reportedly happened during spring training in February, which shook the nerves of those wearing Rangers gear. Beltre played in eight games in the spring before bolting to the World Baseball Classic to suit up for the Dominican Republic. The debate at the time was whether playing in the WBC hurt his chances of completely healing before Opening Day.
That was then, this is now.
The fact that Beltre was back on the field at any time this season after a serious injury at his age shows how special of a player he really is. And it wasn’t just the bat in the lineup that the Rangers missed during his absence. Having their leader back on the field and in the clubhouse was a big boost for Texas.
Beltre is also climbing up the home run charts after hitting his 450th career homer earlier this week, good enough for 39th all-time. He has a chance to become just the sixth player in major league history to reach 3,000 hits and 500 career home runs. Beltre ranks in the Top-40 in numerous other offensive categories and considered one of the best defensive third baseman in the game with five Gold Glove awards to prove it. Only Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson has played more games at third than Beltre.
The remarkable career of this future Hall of Famer has had some interesting moments along the way. Beltre had that monster season in 2004 when he smashed 48 homers for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He then spent five years flying under the radar with some bad Mariners teams in Seattle before shipping up to Boston for a season. After that it was the move to Texas where he became a national treasure for the Rangers.
The growing legend that is Adrian Beltre continues on for the Rangers whether they are in a playoff race or not. The only question that remains will be his reaction to the head rubs coming his way once he joins the 3,000 hit club.