ARLINGTON (AP) – Adrian Beltre needs 11 hits to reach 3,000 — a milestone that would bring some long overdue attention to a quietly great player.
Beltre has never won an MVP award, and he’s been an All-Star only four times, missing out even in 2004, when he was on his way to hitting 48 home runs for the Dodgers. Although he’s been overlooked at times, the 38-year-old third baseman has put together a well-rounded case for the Hall of Fame, and his 3,000th hit may very well solidify it. Beltre also has 453 home runs, a career .286 average and five Gold Gloves.
Beltre and the Texas Rangers open a nine-game homestand Monday night against Miami, so his 3,000th hit could come at home.
Beltre is among a handful of players in their late 30s or older who still have an opportunity to add to their resumes as their careers wind down. These other stars have varying cases for the Hall of Fame:
- Albert Pujols, Angels: The 37-year-old Pujols is signed through 2021, so the three-time MVP has a chance to add a few more milestones to his long list of accomplishments. He hit his 600th home run earlier this year, and his 3,000th hit will likely come next season. Hank Aaron, Alex Rodriguez and Willie Mays are the only players to reach both those marks.
- Ichiro Suzuki, Marlins: Suzuki has over 3,000 major league hits — and that doesn’t count his stats from when he was in Japan. He’s 43 now and hitting just .227, but his unique career has been a marvel.
- Carlos Beltran, Astros: The 40-year-old Beltran has 433 home runs and 312 steals, and although Mets fans remember his strikeout to end the 2006 NL Championship Series, his overall body of work in the postseason has been stellar. He’s hitting only .229 this season, so his bat may finally be slipping, but he’ll have plenty of support for the Hall.
- Chase Utley, Dodgers: Utley’s prime was probably a bit underrated. He won four straight Silver Sluggers from 2006-2009 and put up big power numbers for a second baseman. The 38-year-old is hitting .225 this year, and he’s still 176 hits shy of 2,000. His sabermetric case for the Hall is a decent one despite that low hit total, but he hasn’t done much to stand out late in his career.
- CC Sabathia, Yankees: Sabathia’s Hall chances took a hit when he posted a 4.81 ERA from 2013-2015. His 2015 season ended with a trip to an alcohol rehab center, and the left-hander has enjoyed more success on the field since. Sabathia, who turned 37 this past week, is 9-3 this year with a 3.44 ERA. He needs 203 more strikeouts to reach 3,000.
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