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Delusion of the Day: Sheffield and 3,000 hits

Aug 10, 2009, 1:47 PM EDT

Gary Sheffield joined the 500-homer club earlier this season and said yesterday that his sights are now set on reaching 3,000 hits as well:
I’m going to try to get there. Someone told me I had an outside shot at 3,000. So I said, “Why not?” I wasn’t thinking about it. Then they said not many guys have 500 homers and 3,000 hits. So now I want to try. Why give up when I’m pretty close and when I can still play? When I set my mind to something, I go after it. So I’m ready to sacrifice two more offseasons to get myself into the kind of shape I used to be in when I knew I was going to play every day.
I’m of the belief that Sheffield is one of the most underrated players of the past couple decades and has an excellent Hall of Fame case that includes 509 homers, 253 steals, a .292 batting average, nine All-Star selections, six top-10 MVP finishes, and the 27th-best adjusted OPS+ of the past 50 years. With that said, he has almost zero chance of getting to 3,000 hits.
He has 2,679 right now and will likely get to around 2,700 by season’s end given that he has 64 hits through the Mets’ first 111 games. That would leave him 300 or so hits shy of 3,000, which is a huge number for someone who turns 41 years old in two months and has produced more than 100 hits in just one of the past four seasons. Sheffield’s hit totals over the past four years are 45, 131, 94, and 64.
Even assuming that he somehow boosts that number to around 100 per season going forward–which isn’t usually how the whole aging thing works for guys on the wrong side of 40–Sheffield would likely need to be playing in 2013 at the age of 44. He’s been limited to part-time duty for a Mets team that is decimated by injuries this season, so full-time gigs don’t figure to be in his future.
Great hitter, underrated player, legitimate Hall of Fame case. But almost no chance for 3,000 hits.

  1. largebill - Aug 10, 2009 at 11:48 PM

    Agreed. 3,000 isn’t likely. While it is a nice round number, a team isn’t going to give Sheff extra AB’s to ensure he reaches a milestone. This isn’t like Rose going for the all time hit record where the Reds actually increased attendance by playing the aging player. Unless he goes the Julio Franco route (pinch hitter/mentor), I don’t see him playing beyond this season. Nothing about Sheff says mentor.

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