Back in 2017 Albert Pujols set the record for the most home runs hit by a player born outside of the United States. Last night he set the record for the most hits for a player born outside of the United States.
Pujols had two hits and three RBI in last night’s Angels win over the Pirates. The first of those hits was the 3,167th of his career, which moved him past Adrián Beltré and into first place. It also moved him into sole possession of 15th place for career hits, two ahead of Beltré and 16 behind Cal Ripken Jr.
Pujols, at least in his more recent years, gets cast as a “complier” from time to time because he’s no longer an elite hitter as opposed to an aged one. But it’s worth noting that he has reached first on the foreign-born hits lit and 15th on the all-time hits list in just under 19 seasons as a major leaguer. There is only one other guy in the top 25 on the all-time hit list who got where he is in 19 or fewer seasons and that’s Ichiro, who notched 3,089 hits in 19 seasons. Only one member of the 3,000 hit club played fewer than 19 seasons and that was Roberto Clemente, who had an even 3,000 hits in 18 seasons.
That doesn’t make Pujols Ty Cobb or anything, but it’s a pretty good reminder of just how dominant he was for so very long.
Bobby Jenks was a key part of the 2005 world champion White Sox. By 2010, his effectiveness as a closer fell off and he signed with the Boston Red Sox for the 2011 season. He’d pitch in only 19 games that year, suffer a back injury and would never pitch again.
In the year or so after that, we heard that Jenks was arrested for driving under the influence. And then we heard that his back surgery was botched, and his baseball career was over. Then, after years of silence, we learned last spring that Jenks won $5.1 million in a medical malpractice suit against the doctor who performed his surgery.
We did not, however, know all the details until Bobby Jenks wrote about them at the Players’ Tribune this morning. This is must-click link stuff, folks.
Jenks talks about how a seemingly innocuous pitch to Jorge Posada in an early-season Red Sox-Yankees game in 2011 was the last pitch he’d ever throw. He talks about the presumably simple surgery that would supposedly get him back on the field. And then the scary complications in which he almost died due to leaking spinal fluid resulting from the botched surgery. Then, after using painkillers to deal with back pain, Jenks’ fell into drug addiction, all of which culminated in him finding himself half-naked and crazed in a car that didn’t belong to him with police and rescue workers surrounding him.
Jenks got clean but his wife left him. And then he mounted a multi-year lawsuit during which he learned that the reason his back surgery was screwed up was because the surgeon was performing two surgeries at one time, which is an apparently common practice called “concurrent surgery,” that sounds like it totally should NOT be a common practice.
Yet Jenks has survived. He’s been sober for over seven years and he seems to be in a good place. But boy did he have to go through something harrowing to get there. Definitely take the time to read it.