Jul 9, 2011, 3:30 PM EDT
Derek Jeter just became the 28th member of the 3,000-hit club. He is the first player to reach 3,000 hits since Craig Biggio during the 2007 season.
Now that history has been made, it’s time to wonder who will get there next.
Removing Jeter from the equation, here’s the list of the current active leaders in hits (their ages in parentheses):
Ivan Rodriguez (39) – 2,842
Omar Vizquel (44) – 2,831
Alex Rodriguez (35) – 2,762
Johnny Damon (37) – 2,662
Chipper Jones (39) – 2,565
Vladimir Guerrero (36) – 2,513
Miguel Tejada (37) – 2,353
Bobby Abreu (37) – 2,343
Ichiro Suzuki (37) – 2,343
Todd Helton (37) – 2,319
Edgar Renteria (34) – 2,284
Jim Thome (40) – 2,239
Magglio Ordonez (37) – 2,107
Carlos Lee (35) – 2,057
Orlando Cabrera (36) – 2,020
Scott Rolen (36) - 2,001
Adrian Beltre (32) – 1,985
Albert Pujols (31) – 1,979
Yes, Pudge is next in line. I briefly went over his case yesterday, but with his career on the decline, he would likely need to hang on for at least a couple more seasons in a backup role to have a realistic chance. I doubt he’ll get there, nor do I think he will be next. You’ll see that Pudge shares a lot in common with many of the names on this list. Not surprisingly, the great majority of them are aging veterans in the twilight of their careers. Even someone like Ichiro, who once looked like a lock, is beginning to show some early signs of decline.
Alex Rodriguez still appears to be the favorite to reach 3,000 hits next, even with today’s news about his knee. We may have to get used to seeing him play 120 games per season, but I think he stands a decent chance of getting there during the 2013 season. 38 more hits in 2011 would put him at 2,800 going into next season.
I wouldn’t rule out Johnny Damon, either. He’s having a resurgent season with the Rays and is currently on pace for 166 hits. That would give him 2,737 hits going into next season. Not impossible. You’ll notice that Albert Pujols is the youngest player on this list. That’s important, even though his numbers have been merely mortal this season. It’s worth noting that Miguel Cabrera, who isn’t on this list, has 1,497 hits at the age of 28. We have to at least take his past drinking and personal problems into account when talking about career longevity, but he’s on pace to charge up this list in future seasons.
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