Adrián Beltré has all the round numbers to enter the Baseball Hall of Fame without delay in his first year of eligibility.
He is the only third baseman in history with 3,000 career hits and 400 career home runs, as well as a five-time gold glove winner at the position. He played 2,759 games in the anteroom, second on the all-time list behind the recently departed Brooks Robinson.
Just one of 12 players in history to exceed 3,000 hits (3,165 total) and 400 home runs (477 total). Nine of the 11 are in the Hall of Fame. The exceptions? Alex Rodríguez and Rafael Palmeiro, players who were suspended for using doping substances.
Beltré stands out among the 12 ballplayers debuting on the Baseball Writers’ Association of North America (BBWAA) ballot, and 26 players in all. The outcome of the voting for the Class of 2024 will be announced on January 23.
Sign Beltré up now to get in on the first try, become the fifth Dominican with a plaque in the Baseball Immortals museum in Cooperstown – the exaltation ceremony will be July 22 – and follow in the wake of Juan Marichal, Pedro Martinez, Vladimir Guerrero and David Ortiz.
Beltré registered 98.9% of the votes on 179 ballots that had been released at dawn Friday, collected by Ryan Thibodaux in his vote tally. Players who receive 75% of the votes are exalted, and Beltré had been left off only two of the ballots.
He will also receive my vote, my ninth as a member of the BBWAA. In fact, it was the first box to be filled.
Fine fielding elegance. Productive with the bat – that memorable home run falling to one knee for the Texas Rangers in the 2011 World Series – year in and year out. And entertaining in every way.
So much can be said for Beltré, who signed his first contract at 15, debuted at 19 and played for 21 seasons. More than anything else, his legacy is distinguished by the spontaneity with which he enjoyed himself every day, even though it got on his nerves when his teammates teased him by touching his head.
My favorite moment has nothing to do with statistics, but his nonchalance.
In 2017, four hits shy of 3,000 and in a game Texas was losing by a landslide to the Marlins, Beltré was taking swings waiting for his turn when umpire Gerry Davis admonished him to do so on the rubber mat in the waiting circle used for that purpose. Instead of moving, Beltré dragged the mat over to where he was standing. Convinced that Beltré was mocking his command, the umpire decided to eject him from the game.
The incident could not have gone more viral, as it was interpreted as a defiance of baseball traditions. After the game, Beltré managed as best he could to put on a straight face as he vehemently defended himself.