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300 homers, 2000 hits, and Adrian Beltre

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ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 01:  Adrian Beltre #29 of the Texas Rangers hits a single in the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on September 1, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 01: Adrian Beltre #29 of the Texas Rangers hits a single in the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on September 1, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Yesterday, Adrian Beltre hit his 300th career home run.  When I was a kid, I had a Baseball Encyclopedia from 1975 that I was given as a gift, which included all the stats then available from 1876 to the present, along with leaderboards.  I would obsess over that book for hours, and one of the things I remember in particular was that the career home run list had everyone at 300 home runs or more, so from an early age, in my mind, 300 home runs was an important milestone.

Beltre also recently passed the 2000 hit mark, making him the 84th player in major league history to record 2000 hits and 300 home runs.  That's kind of neat, but of course, it doesn't make him exceptionally rare in the annals of history.

What is unusual, though, is that Beltre has crossed the 2000 hit and 300 home run mark at such a young age.  Beltre is in his age 32 season, and according to Baseball Reference, only 14 other players have done that in major league history.

Those 14 consist of 10 Hall of Famers (Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Mel Ott, Willie Mays, Lou Gehrig, Orlando Cepeda, Al Kaline and Eddie Murray), 3 no-doubt, slam-dunk future Hall of Famers (Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr., and Albert Pujols), and Ron Santo, who should be in the Hall of Fame.

Rather exclusive company there.

Of course, one can argue that Beltre barely made it on both the hits and home runs, so he doesn't deserve to be lumped in that group...what if we changed the standards to, say, 1800 hits and 275 home runs?

There are an additional nine players who make the cut.  Of that group, you have six Hall of Famers (Cal Ripken, Jr., Jim Rice, Eddie Mathews, Billy Williams, Duke Snider, and Johnny Bench), one future Hall of Famer (Vlad Guerrero), 50s slugger Del Ennis, and former Ranger Juan Gonzalez.

An impressive group, and a reminder of how unusual Beltre's career has been.  If he stays healthy and productive during his contract with the Rangers, he's going to have the sort of counting stats that could make for an interesting Hall of Fame debate down the road.