Tiger great Miguel Cabrera has burnished his Hall of Fame credentials as the 33rd member of the 3000 hit club, collecting his milestone knock off of fellow Venezuelan Antonio Senzatela of the Rockies. More after the jump.
Cabrera becomes just the 7th player to reach 3000 hits including 500 home runs, and just the 3rd (after Willie Mays and Hank Aaron) to also post a career .300 BA (that .300 career BA should stand up as Cabrera would need to post three more 450+ AB seasons with a .250 BA before that career .300 BA would start to look vulnerable). As of this writing, Cabrera is sitting on 599 doubles, so his next two-bagger will put him in another select group of three with 3000 hits, 500 HR and 600 doubles, joining Aaron and Albert Pujols. Here are a couple more groups of three for Cabrera.
- Players with 3000 hits who also recorded a triple crown season: Cabrera joins Carl Yastrzemski and Ty Cobb (in Cobb’s triple crown season in 1909, he led the junior circuit with 9 home runs yet never hit the ball out of the park, as each of his round-trippers was of the inside-the-park variety)
- Players to record 3000th hit as a Tiger: Cabrera joins Cobb and Al Kaline
Cabrera is the sixth player active in the past ten seasons to reach 3000 hits. That is a notable confluence but far from a record. The most 3000 hit players active in a decade are shown below for the first 10 year span encompassing the indicated players.
- 16 players – 1973-1982 and 1992-2001
- 15 players – 1972-1981, 1974-1983, 1979-1988 and 1994-2003
- 14 players – 1970-1979, 1977-1986, 1980-1989, 1985-1994 and 1986-1995
The most players active in the same season who were already members of the 3000 hit club is three, in 1925-28 (Cobb, Tris Speaker and Eddie Collins), 1972 (Aaron, Mays and Roberto Clemente), 1979 (Yaz, Pete Rose and Lou Brock), 2001 (Cal Ripken, Tony Gwynn and Rickey Henderson) and 2018 (Pujols, Ichiro Suzuki and Adrian Beltre). Teams with two or more players who were already 3000 hit club members are the 1928 A’s (Cobb, Speaker and Collins), 1927 A’s (Cobb and Collins), 1995 Indians (Eddie Murray and Dave Winfield) and 2001 Padres (Gwynn and Henderson).
More interesting perhaps is the confluence of 3000 hit club members born outside the United States. The last four players to reach 3000 hits were all born outside the 50 states, more than the three such players who preceded this latest group. Antonio Senzatela becomes the fifth pitcher born outside the US to yield a 3000th hit, following Moe Drabowsky (Stan Musial), Jose Mesa (Robin Yount), Hector Carrasco (Ripken) and Joel Pineiro (Rafael Palmeiro). Piniero/Palmeiro were the first pitcher/batter combo both born outside the US, while Senzatela/Cabrera are the first combo both born in the same country outside the US.
We will likely have a bit of a wait before the 3000 hit club welcomes its next member. Here are the career hit totals for players currently active.
- I suppose the 39 year-old Cano (no. 3) has an outside shot if he can play another three years (including this season), but I really don’t see that happening.
- Andrus (no. 7) could get there by age 41 with nine more 125 hit seasons including this one (he had 121 hits last year), but that seems even less likely than Cano’s chances.
- Though Altuve (no. 10) is eight months younger, Freeman (no. 12) would be my pick of the two as a player who has remained mostly healthy throughout his career, would seem to have a body type built for the long haul, and has considerably outpaced Altuve recently, with a 28 point edge in BA since 2018 that has translated into almost 100 more hits than the the Astro second sacker. Eight seasons (including this one) averaging 160 hits would get either of them to 3000 hits by their 40th birthdays.
- Further down the list is Trout (no. 21) who, unlike Freeman, has found it difficult to stay healthy and does not have the same sleek physique as the Dodger first baseman. Still, 10 seasons (including this one) averaging 160 hits would do it for Trout, reaching 3000 right about the time he turns 40 (but I’d feel a lot more confident about that forecast if Trout could shed some pounds).
- Machado (no. 19) has a few more hits than Trout, is a year younger and rather more svelte, but he hasn’t reached 160 hits since 2018. Still, eleven seasons (to age 40) averaging 150 hits, or twelve averaging 140, would get him there.
If it is another 7 years before we next see a player reach 3000 hits, that would be the longest interval since the 7 years between Rod Carew (1985) and George Brett and Robin Yount (both in 1992). If it takes longer than 7 years, you have to go back to the 12 years between Musial (1958) and Aaron (1970) to find as long a gap. The longest interval between 3000th hits is the 17 years between Speaker and Collins (both in 1925) and Paul Waner (1942), and between Cap Anson (1897, counting only his NL hits) and Nap Lajoie and Honus Wagner (both in 1914). If your include Anson’s NA hits, he reached 3000 in 1894, making it 20 years between him and Lajoie and Wagner.