Robinson Cano dreamed as a kid of going to bat with the bases loaded, two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 7 of the World Series and hitting a home run.
There was also a milestone number that seemed so improbable: 3,000 hits.
When Albert Pujols becomes the 4th player with 600+ homers and 3000 hits, at least he is one of the players who did it cleanly. So it seems, he doesn’t seem like a steroids kind of guy who suspiciously bulked up a lot during his career.— Josh Maduell (@joshmaduell) 26 de marzo de 2018
“You dream one day what if feels like to win an MVP, to be an All-Star, to win a Gold Glove” said Cano, the Seattle Mariners’ second baseman. “When you’re a kid, you think, ‘I wish I could get 3,000 one day.’ ... It’s one of those things that once you get to the big leagues you know how hard it is, and then you understand at the same time there are not too many guys that get 3,000 hits. It’s hard.”
Just how hard?
There are only 31 players who have done it. And the only two active in the majors are 44-year-old outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, back with Seattle; and Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre, the 3,000-hit club’s newest member .
And that milestone could be becoming even more elusive.
“Longevity is one thing,” said A.J. Hinch, manager of the World Series champion Houston Astros. “Being good as you age, being able to handle the type of pitching and the type of defenses that are happening now, it might be more and more rare that guys reach these accomplishments based on the information and how difficult it is to perform like that for that long.”
Albert Pujols goes into this season for the Los Angeles Angels with 2,968 hits, making it likely players joins the prestigious club in four straight years — a first. Alex Rodriguez got his 3,000th hit with a homer in 2015, Ichiro did with a triple in 2016 and Beltre with double last summer.
But after Pujols, a three-time NL MVP with the St. Louis Cardinals who is now 38 and in his 18th big league season, it will be at least a couple more seasons before another 3,000-hit watch kicks in for someone else.
“When you say 3,000 hits, that means that you were good for a long time,” said Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona, who as a young player with Montreal in 1984 was teammates for part of a season with MLB career hits leader Pete Rose, who had 4,256 over 24 big league seasons.