Bel­tre joins 3,000-hit club

Texas third base­man be­comes 31st player to achieve feat.

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

AR­LING­TON, Texas — Adrian Bel­tre got his 3,000th ca­reer hit in a fit­ting way — a hard hit down the line past third base.

The Texas Rangers third base­man dou­bled Sun­day to be­come the first player from the Do­mini­can Repub­lic, and 31st over­all, to ac­cu­mu­late 3,000 hits in the ma­jor leagues.

He reached the mile­stone in the Texas Rangers’ 10-6 loss

to the Bal­ti­more Ori­oles.

The Rangers were down 4-0 in the fourth in­ning when Bel­tre, 38, lined a 3-0 pitch off Wade Mi­ley that went past the bag and then ric­o­cheted off the side wall into left field.

A ban­ner was un­furled high above straight­away cen­ter field con­grat­u­lat­ing Bel­tre

af­ter his hit. His team­mates, who had crowded on the rail of their first-base dugout to be as close as pos­si­ble to the his­toric mo­ment, flooded onto the field to cel­e­brate with him.

Bel­tre’s two daugh­ters and 10-year-old son Adrian Jr. left their front-row seats near the dugout they had shared with other fam­ily mem­bers and ran to right-cen­ter field. The kids helped un­veil a logo com­mem­o­rat­ing the ac­com­plish­ment on the wall in front of the Rangers bullpen, then went and hugged their fa­ther on the in­field dirt.

On a sun-soaked af­ter­noon with tem­per­a­tures in the 90s, they stood in an­tic­i­pa­tion and started cheer­ing when Bel­tre was in­tro­duced in his 2,771st ca­reer game. Now in his 20th big league sea­son, he is only the third player who is pri- mar­ily a third base­man in the 3,000-hit club, join­ing Hall of Famers Ge­orge Brett and Wade Boggs.

The mile­stone came only min­utes af­ter for­mer Rangers catcher Ivan Ro­driguez fin- ished his in­duc­tion speech at the Base­ball Hall of Fame in Coop­er­stown, New York. Bar- ring un­usual cir­cum­stances, get­ting 3,000 hits has tra­di­tion­ally been a ticket to the Hall.

“It’s one of those days that as a Ranger, you’ll for­ever re­mem­ber that this is, on the cal­en­dar year, Ranger Day,” Man­ager Jeff Ban­is­ter said be­fore the game, re­fer­ring to Bel­tre as the “next Hall of Famer.”

Af­ter the fourth in­ning, a pre-recorded mes­sage from Ro­driguez in Coop­er­stown con­grat­u­lat­ing Bel­tre for 3,000 hits was played on the sta­dium video boards.

“I just think it’s amaz­ing,” said Jeff Bag­well, who was in­ducted with Ro­driguez. “He’s just an amaz­ing base­ball player, ar­guably one of the best third base­men of all time. He can do ev­ery­thing. He plays hurt, he hits for av­er­age, he hits for power, drives in runs. He’s a great, great player.”

The only other cur­rent ac­tive player in the 3,000-hit club is Mi­ami out­fielder Ichiro Suzuki, who is tied with Hall of Fame player Craig Big­gio for 22nd all-time at 3,060 hits.

Bel­tre is now tied for 30th place on the hits list with Roberto Cle­mente. Al Ka­line (3,007) and Boggs (3,010) are next up on the list.

Bel­tre’s first hit came as a 19-year-old rookie with the Los An­ge­les Dodgers on June 24, 1998, four years af­ter they had signed him. He spent 7 sea­sons with the Dodgers, 5 years in Seat­tle and 1 in Bos­ton be­fore join­ing the Rangers in 2011, the year he fi­nally made it to a World Se­ries.

The dou­ble was Bel­tre’s 1,111th hit with the Rangers, af­ter 949 with the Dodgers, 751 with the Mariners, and 189 in his sea­son with the Red Sox be­fore go­ing to Texas as a free agent.

He has never bunted for a hit.

“You don’t see many play­ers that uni­ver­sally re­spected and liked, and ev­ery­thing he does on the field is sin­cere,” Ori­oles Man­ager Buck Showal­ter said dur­ing the se­ries. “I don’t know if any­body in the game has more univer­sal re­spect from the op­po­si­tion. … I love to watch him play. It seems like he’s play­ing his first game in Lit­tle League.”

Jonathan Schoop and Wel­ing­ton Castillo hit home runs in a five-run fifth for a 9-2 Ori­oles lead. Castillo also had the last of three con­sec­u­tive RBI sin­gles off Martin Perez (5-9) in the fourth.

Mi­ley (5-9) al­lowed four hits in five in­nings.


Texas Rangers third base­man Adrian Bel­tre hits a dou­ble off Bal­ti­more Ori­oles start­ing pitcher Wade Mi­ley in the fourth in­ning Sun­day in Ar­ling­ton, Texas, for his 3,000th ca­reer hit. Bel­tre be­came the 31st player in ma­jor league his­tory to record at least 3,000 hits and the first since Ichiro Suzuki in 2016.


BEL­TRE’S GOR­DON, ES­CO­BAR ca­reer statis­tics. Page 5C

lead Roy­als to win over Red Sox. Page 4C Adrian Bel­tre (right) is con­grat­u­lated by Texas Rangers Man­ager Jeff Ban­is­ter af­ter get­ting his 3,000th ca­reer hit Sun­day against the Bal­ti­more Ori­oles. On the in­side

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