Adrian Beltre has been the model third baseman for MLB since debuting for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1998. Beltre has hit clutch home runs, made game-saving plays and succeeded in the postseason during his 20-year career.
His postseason success was highlighted in 2011, when he led the Texas Rangers to its second consecutive AL pennant and within a strike from its first World Series championship.
He has earned hardware for his great play, including five Rawlings gold gloves and four MLB silver sluggers.
He is one of four MLB players to hit for the cycle three times in the same stadium. He is one of six players to hit three home runs in a regular season and postseason game. He is at least 10th all-time for third basemen in games played, assists, putouts and double plays.
Beltre’s career statistics and accomplishments give baseball writers a tough decision. A decision on whether Beltre’s name should be in Cooperstown. Baseball writers have to make this decision on every player who has played at least 10 seasons in MLB and has been retired for five years.
The decision regarding Beltre got more complicated when he hit a double down the third base line for his 3,000th career hit against Oriole starter Wade Miley on Sunday afternoon, the same day the 2017 Hall of Fame induction class was enshrined into Cooperstown. Beltre is the 31st player to accomplish this milestone, the first born in the Dominican. Baseball writers have voted in 28 of the 30 members of the 3,000 hit club, giving Beltre a good chance to be voted into Cooperstown.
Red Sox third baseman Wade Boggs is a Hall-of-Famer who also is in the 3,000 hit club and was nearly as productive as Beltre. Boggs’ entire career was worth 91.1 wins above replacement, WAR, and Beltre’s is worth 92.4 wins. Here are a few statistical comparisons between Beltre and Boggs.
Home Runs: Boggs 118, Beltre 454
Doubles: Boggs 578, Beltre 604
Runs Batted In: Boggs 1,014, Beltre 1,607
Games Played: Boggs 2,440, Beltre 2,771
Batting Average: Boggs .328, Beltre .286
On Base Plus Slugging (OPS): Boggs .858, Beltre .820
Beltre is consistent with Boggs in the majority of these offensive statistics and dominants in defense, shown with Beltre’s five gold gloves to Boggs’ zero. Boggs also earned 474 votes when he was voted in, third-most at the time. The argument for Beltre being in Cooperstown is in his favor. He has a strong case to get in and is on contract through the 2018 season, meaning he has less than a season and a half to add onto his resume. After seeing fellow Ranger Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez get inducted as part of the 2017 Hall of Fame induction class, baseball fans are ready for Beltre’s induction.