Who is next to 3,000 career hits?


Derek Jeter approaches 3,000 career hits

Major League Baseball has many career milestones a player needs to pass to be a legitimate consideration for the Hall of Fame. 3,000 career hits is one of those remarkable milestones. Derek Jeter has 2,985 hits, 15 hits shy of the 3,000 hits milestone that will take him from eventual Hall of Famer to first ballot Hall of Famer. Only six other active players are on the top career 100 hits list and within at least 500 hits of 3,000. Will we see another 3,000 career hitter once Jeter reaches that plateau?

Ivan Rodriguez, 2,835 hits, age 39, #45 on the career hits list.

Omar Vizquel, 2,820 hits, age 44, #46 on the career hits list.

Alex Rodriguez, 2,730 hits, age 35, # 55 on the career hits list.

Johnny Damon, 2,631 hits, age 37, #74 on the career hits list.

Chipper Jones, 2,541 hits, age 39, #88 on the career hits list.

Vladimir Guerrero, 2,490 hits, age 36, #95 on the career hits list.

* Manny Ramirez is listed at 2,574 hits and ranks # 84th on the all-time hit list.

Other players of interest:

Ichiro Suzuki, 2,307 hits, age 37, # 139 on the career hits list.

Albert Pujols, 1,964 hits, age 31, # 277 on the career hits list.

Adrian Beltre, 1,946 hits, age 32, # 286 on the career hits list.

Carl Crawford, 1,535 hits, age 29, # 556 on the career hits list.

Miguel Cabrera 1,462 hits, age 28, # 625 on the career hits list.

Ivan Rodriguez looked like he was finished 8 years ago. Yet he keeps playing and is considered an excellent receiver and mentor for younger catchers and pitching staffs. Father Time may have finally caught up with him. Sadly he’s 160 hits away, but he’s only collected 18 hits so far this year. Chances are he will not reach 3,000.

Omar Vizquel is an ageless wonder. The 44-year old is filling in for the Seattle Mariners as an infield utility player. He’s hitting a very respectable .280 on the year with 21 hits in limited action. He may have another year as a backup left. Chances are he will not reach 3,000 either.

A-Rod only needs 270 more hits to reach 3,000. He’s cranked out 58 hits this year and appears to be on track for 140 hits or so this season, if he stays healthy. A-Rod could reach 3,000 in 2013 barring any major injuries.

Johnny Damon is quietly sneaking up on a Hall of Fame type career. He’s got more hits than Joe DiMaggio (2,214) and he’s only 23 hits away from tying Ted Williams. His career average is only .287 and he’s never been known for his defense which will work against him. He’s won two World Series, 2004 with the Red Sox and 2009 with the New York Yankees. Coming up through the Kansas City Royals system as opposed to a high profile team like the Yankees or Red Sox will hurt his chances and has hurt his career numbers. His career hits numbers would be on par with Jeter’s had he played in the same role for the Yankees his entire career.

Chipper Jones is 459 hits away and hinted at retiring at the end of last season before an injury sidelined him for most of the year. At 39-years old, Chipper is still 3-4 years away from reaching 3,000. To his credit he would rather retire having played his entire career with the Braves than latch on as a Designated Hitter for an American League team to chase the mark. He should be a Hall of Famer a couple of years after he’s eligible.

Vladimir Guerrero is 510 hits away. The free-swinging 36-year old continues to chop away at pitches anywhere close to the plate. Last year he collected 178 hits, he’s collected 63 so far this year. He doesn’t walk much and he doesn’t strike out that often either, which is what will have to happen for him to reach 3,000. If he can continue to compile 178 hits over the next couple of years he could reach 3,000 hits in 2 ½ years. He’s earned every one of those hits since he doesn’t bunt or get infield hits to pad his stats.

Death, taxes, and Ichiro getting at least 200 hits in a season are all things you can count on in life. He’s off to a slow start this year, for him, as he’s only hitting .261 on the year with 63 hits; no triples or home runs. If he reaches 200 hits this year he will be 516 hits shy of 3,000. He could be there by early 2014 if he keeps playing at his usual pace.

Anyone surprised to see Adrian Beltre neck and neck with Albert Pujols on the career hit list? Both players are within a year in age and only 18 hits a part; that’s where the comparisons between the two should stop. Albert’s played in 276 few games, has a 131 more career home runs (420), 216 more RBIs (1,267), and a higher career batting average .329 to .274. At the end of the season King Albert could be close to 2,100 hits putting him 5 years away from 3,000.

Carl Crawford is entering his 8th full season in the pros. He routinely gets around 180 hits each year. If he reaches 180 hits this season he will be 1,660 shy of 3,000 putting him 9-10 years away. Playing in Fenway Park will help him get extra hits if he can utilize the Green Monster and having solid hitters in the line-up around him. 3,000 hits seems like a long shot for him. He could benefit playing DH later in his career.

Of the players listed, Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols should be first ballot entries into the Hall of Fame. Ichiro Suzuki, Chipper Jones, and possibly Ivan Rodriguez will make Canton at some point. If Ichiro had played his entire career in MLB, he would be considered a first ballot player.