Alex Rodriguez passed Willie Mays to move into fourth-place on baseball’s all-time list with his 661st career home run tonight against the Orioles. He’s currently 53 home runs away from tying Babe Ruth for third all-time. It’s not impossible. Heck, most had pretty low or even non-existent expectations for him coming off his year-long absence with a PED suspension, so he has already proved a lot of people wrong. Still, it’s a lot to ask from someone who turns 40 in July and is playing on two surgically-repaired hips. Who knows how long this will last.
While catching Ruth is likely a longshot, 3,000 career hits could be Rodriguez’s next milestone. After going 2-for-3 tonight against Baltimore, he’s sitting on 2,962 career hits. That puts him just 38 away from becoming the 29th player in MLB history to join the historic club. With the way Rodriguez is swinging the bat right now, it’s realistic that he could be able to do it by the All-Star break if he can stay healthy. Derek Jeter (2011) was the last player in MLB to reach 3,000 career hits.
Only four players have reached 500 career home runs and 3,000 career hits: Hank Aaron, Mays, Eddie Murray, and Rafael Palmeiro. It’s easy to forget that Palmeiro is in that club with the way he has faded into oblivion since being disgraced, but Rodriguez has a good chance to be the fifth member soon.
While these don’t register nearly as high on the attention-getting scale, here are a couple of other numbers to follow with A-Rod:
- Rodriguez is fifth on MLB’s all-time list with 1,987 RBI. He’s just eight away from tying Lou Gehrig for fourth and nine away from Barry Bonds. That could happen pretty quickly, which would leave only Ruth (2,213) and Aaron (2,297).
- Rodriguez is ninth all-time with 1,935 runs scored. He’s just 14 away from tying Stan Musial for eighth while he’s 65 away from Tris Speaker. Reaching Speaker this year would likely be a bit of a stretch, but he should pass Musial this summer if his health cooperates.