Future first ballot HOFer Albert Pujols continues adding to his resume of career milestones, becoming the 32nd player to reach 3000 hits with an opposite field single against the Mariners last Friday. After joining Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds last season as the only players to reach 600 doubles and 600 home runs, Pujols now joins Hammerin’ Hank, Stan Musial, Willie Mays and A-Rod as the only players with 3000 hits, including 1200 for extra bases. More after the jump.
Pujols’ single broke with recent history that had seen seven of the previous nine 3000th hits go for extra bases (compared to 6 of the first 22). This marks the first time that a new 3000 hit club member has been added in each of four consecutive seasons. Miguel Cabrera could make it 5 seasons in a row next year, though chances are higher that Miggy makes it in 2020. Robinson Cano would be next, perhaps in 2021 at age 38 or the next season.
With Ichiro getting in a few games this year before his move to the Mariner front office, this season marks the sixth time that three 3000 hit club members have been active in the same season, after 2001 (Gwynn, Ripken, Henderson), 1993 (Yount, Brett, Winfield), 1979 (Rose, Brock, Yaz), 1972 (Aaron, Mays, Clemente) and 1925-28 (Cobb, Collins, Speaker).
Pujols is the second player with a 3000th hit as an Angel; like the first (Carew), Albert was a free agent signee after more than a decade with his first team that included RoY and MVP awards. Speaker and Collins are two other 3000 hit players with similar two team careers.
Pujols reaches 3000 hits in his age 38 season, the 11th player to do so in that season or before. Next on the horizon for Albert are 10,000 AB (28 players) and 2000 RBI (4 players), the former a certainty if he plays another month or so and the latter also within reach later this season. Pujols will likely finish his career just shy of averaging 1 RBI per 5 AB, something no modern era player with 10,000 career AB has accomplished (Bonds almost did it, averaging one RBI per 4.93 AB in 9847 AB). Further out for Pujols, perhaps in his age 40 season, are 3000 games (8 players) and 6000 total bases (3 players).
Other career marks that Pujols is chasing are 100 WAR (20 players; Pujols was there before his negative WAR season last year dropped him just below that threshold), 60 WAA (22 players; currently 64 but falling quickly), 150 OPS+ (25 players with 7500 PA; currently 151) and a .300 BA (77 players with 7500 PA; currently .304). Two more seasons like last year could have Albert close to not finishing his career with more walks than strikeouts; if he does make it, he would be the 11th player (of 27, currently) to do so while hitting 500 home runs. If he doesn’t play too many more seasons, Pujols also has a chance to join Aaron, Williams, Ott and Ruth as the only 500 home runs hitters to average fewer than two whiffs per whallop.
Well done, Albert!