Sunday, July 30, 2017, was a great day to be at Texas Rangers fan. On the field. And in Cooperstown. If not on the scoreboard or in the standings.
The greatest catcher to play the game of baseball was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame just minutes before the greatest third baseman to play the game of baseball punched his ticket for the future.
Adrian Beltre picked up his 3000th hit with a double in the fourth inning, becoming only the thirty-first player in major league history to record 3000 hits.
He is ten hits away from Wade Boggs and 154 away from George Brett. This time next year, he will be the all-time hit leader among third basemen.
Ironically, both Ivan Rodriguez and Adrian Beltre came up to the major leagues as 19-year-olds. Pudge, obviously, with the Rangers and Beltre with the Dodgers.
In 21 seasons, Pudge was a fourteen-time All-Star, and thirteen-time Gold Glove winner. He won one MVP and finished in the top ten three other times.
Beltre has been an All-Star four times, won five Gold Gloves, and has finished in the top ten in MVP voting six times. He is in his twentieth season and showing absolutely no signs of slowing down. On the contrary. Adrian Beltre is the Ranger offensive leader at age 38.
In 51 games played so far this season, Beltre has gotten a hit in all but 14. He hasn’t gone more than two games in a row without a hit, and has done that only three times. He missed the first two months of the season with bad legs, then hit the ground running the minute he got back.
He is the only player on the roster batting over .300, and only he and Joey Gallo have an OPS above .800, with Betlre being the only regular on the team above .900. It’s Beltre hitting at an all-star level and the rest of the team as major league average. On this offensively challenged team, Beltre is truly a giant among midgets. He is a one-man lineup.
True greatness doesn’t grace one franchise often. Rangers fans were lucky to see two of the best ever at their positions play significant portions of their careers in Arlington.
For one day, all eyes in the baseball world were on the Adrian Beltre and Pudge Rodriguez.
Thank goodness they weren’t on the scoreboard.
ADRIAN BELTRE COUNTDOWN TO 4000: 1000
Felix Hernandez (5-4, 4.08) vs. Cole Hamels (5-1, 3.97)
Game time: 7:05