Top Ten Rangers moments in 2017: No. 1. 31 comments

Top Ten Moment #1: Adrian Beltre collects hit number 3000.


It landed in deep left field. It touched down near the foul line. It was double. A clean hit. The way Adrian Beltre wanted it. Nothing cheap. Nothing controversial. No home-team scoring favor.

When it landed, Beltre became the thirty-first player in major league history to collect 3000 hits. For the record, it came on a 3-0 pitch from Baltimore hurler Wade Miley in the bottom of the fourth inning on July 30, 2017.

The 32,437 in attendance at the Ballpark that Sunday afternoon honored him with the kind of adulation he deserved. The kind you reserve for a legend.

Adrian Beltre is the undisputed face of the franchise. But he didn’t start out a Ranger. In fact, it took him a while to get here.

He spent the first seven seasons in a Dodgers uniform, five seasons with Seattle, and one with Boston before he landed in Arlington as a solid player, but not really a superstar.

He broke into the big leagues in 1998 as a nineteen-year-old third baseman with the Los Angeles Dodgers. His seasons in LA were good, but not spectacular. In fact, in his seven LA seasons, he never went to an All-Star game, never won a gold glove award. It wasn’t until his final Dodgers season, in 2004, that hinted at the greatness that was going to find Beltre. He finished 2004 second in MVP voting, hitting 48 home runs, driving in 121, with an OPS of 1.017.

Then he signed with the Mariners for five good but, again, not really all that spectacular, seasons. He was never an All-Star in five Seattle seasons. He won his first gold glove, finally, in 2007, in his third season as a Mariner and tenth season in the major leagues. It took ten years.

It wasn’t until 2010, his only season in Boston, that Beltre was named to his first All-Star team.

Then he arrived in Arlington. Then it all clicked. Then, in his fourteenth season, at the age of 32, Adrian Beltre became ADRIAN BELTRE.

In his first year with the Rangers, he was an All-Star, won a gold glove and a silver slugger award, and was fifteenth in MVP voting.

Year two, more of the same. An All-Star, gold glove, and third in MVP voting.

In 2013, he led the American League in hits, and was seventh in MVP voting.

Fifteenth in MVP voting in 2014, seventh in 2015, seventh in 2016. And only injuries kept him from a similar fate in 2017.

He missed the first two months of 2017, and a few weeks in September. But he might have had his most productive season ever, as a 38-year-old.

Even though bad legs kept him to only 94 games, he still drove in 71 runs. At that pace, had he gotten his typical 580 at-bats, he would have driven in 121 runs. Nelcon Cruz led the AL with 119 RBIs.

Beltre found Texas and greatness found Beltre. Adrian Beltre became a Hall of Famer in a Rangers uniform. 

The thing about a 3000th hit is, once you get to 2999, it’s just a matter of time. It’s not a surprise like a no-hitter, it’s not an oddity like a cycle, it’s not out of the blue like a triple play.

It’s a long, sustained march to greatness.

And when number 3000 landed, it landed Adrian Beltre in Cooperstown. As if there was any doubt before.