Six third basemen since 1900 have recorded 2,500 hits in their career. As of Tuesday night, one of them wears a Rangers uniform.
Adrian Beltre’s second-inning single up the middle put him in the exclusive sextet. In his typical humble interview demeanor, Beltre attributed the accomplishment to his 17 years in Major League Baseball.
“When you play long enough you start to accumulate some stuff, and that’s what happened,” Beltre said.
Beltre recorded three more hits Tuesday night, moving his career total to 2,503, good for 96th in the history of the game. He’s nine hits shy of the career mark of Jimmy Ryan, the next player on the all-time hits list. It won’t be long before he eclipses the likes of fellow third baseman Buddy Bell and Joe Morgan.
“The players on the list that I’m close to is pretty special. I’m happy to be there, but at the same time it’s unbelievable knowing those players and how great they were,” Beltre said. “To be close to those players is pretty remarkable.”
But is Beltre a Hall of Famer?
“No doubt about it,” manager Ron Washington said.
Wash, who has spent over 30 years in Major League baseball and even spent some time at the hot corner in his playing days, put Beltre in elite company as one of the top third basemen to ever play the game. Where Beltre finishes in that group will depend on how he finishes his final years, he said.
Washington said he believes Beltre will reach 3,000 career hits and 500 career home runs. The veteran has 384 career round-trippers.
Beltre said he’ll start thinking about the Hall when he’s done playing.
“I don’t pay attention to stuff like that,” he said. “I’m not a guy that will look into numbers.”
The accomplishment for Adrian comes in the midst of a six-game losing streak for the Rangers. Texas has fallen 11.5 games out of the division lead and is only three games ahead of the last place Astros.
His manager said the team’s struggles shouldn’t take away from the personal accomplishment. Whether things are going well or going poorly, 2,500 hits is not easy number to achieve, he said.
“He may not show it simply because things aren’t going good,” Washington said. “But inside he’s having just as much joy about it as he would if he was able to show it.”
You came upon me, wave on wave
Ian Kinsler made headlines by waving to the Rangers’ dugout after his first inning home run Tuesday. Washington said he didn’t take it personally.
“He got excited he hit a bomb and I don’t think he even knew what he wanted to do,” Washington said.
Kinsler said Tuesday that the wave wasn’t personal. Beltre joked Wednesday that all Kinsler said to him was, “I love hitting in this ballpark.” As far as the wave, Beltre said he didn’t see it.
“You’ll have to ask him what that meant,” he said with a hardly-contained grin. “I’d like to know too.”