The 3,000 hits club
Only 28 men have eclipsed 3,000 hits in their major league careers. Here is a look at those men and their legacies.
PETE ROSE, 4,256 career hits
24 seasons, 1963-86
Baseball's all-time hits king, a.k.a. Charlie Hustle, batted .303 over a 24-year career with the Reds and Phillies. He broke Ty Cobb's record in 1985 and no one has come within 900 hits of his record since he retired in 1986. He was infamously banned from baseball and barred from the Hall of Fame after it was discovered he gambled on games from 1985-87, while he was a player and manager for the Reds.
TY COBB, 4,191 career hits
24 seasons, 1905-28
"The Georgia Peach" was anything but warm and fuzzy, but he was a heck of a hitter. He broke Cap Anson's career hits record in 1923 and continued to add to it for five seasons before retiring. He owns MLB's career record with a .366 average, including 10 seasons in which he batted .380 or better. Incredibly, he won only one MVP award in his 24-year career with Detroit and the Philadelphia Athletics.
HANK AARON, 3,771 career hits
23 seasons, 1954-76
Most people remember "Hammerin' Hank" for his prodigious home runs, but that doesn't do justice to one of the game's best offensive players ever. Aaron batted .300 or better 14 times in his career with Milwaukee and Atlanta and led the National League in batting twice. In addition to being third all-time in hits and second all-time in home runs, Aaron is first all-time in RBIs.
STAN MUSIAL, 3,630 career hits
22 seasons, 1941-63
"Stan the Man" was a three-time National League MVP (he finished second four times, too) who was nearly impossible to strike out. In 12,721 plate appearances during his 22 seasons with the Cardinals, he whiffed just 696 times, or about 5 percent of the time! Compare that to the majors' leading hitter in 2010, Ichiro Suzuki -- an excellent hitter in his own right -- who struck out 86 times in 732 plate appearances, or nearly 12 percent of the time.
TRIS SPEAKER, 3,515 career hits
22 seasons, 1907-28
Speaker, also known as "The Gray Eagle," was Ty Cobb's chief rival during his career, spent mostly with Boston and Cleveland. He batted .300 or better in each of his first 10 full seasons, and in 18 of 22 seasons overall. The major leagues' all-time leader in doubles was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937.
DEREK JETER, 3,465 career hits
20 seasons, 1995-current
Jeter added another chapter to his illustrious career by homering at Yankee Stadium to join the 3,000-hits club. The Yankees' captain was the first Bronx Bomber to join the exclusive list. Jeter also joined two other exclusive groups among those players that have 3,000 hits, becoming just the second player to reach the milestone via home run (Wade Boggs was the other), and the 11th player to reach the milestone with just one team.
HONUS WAGNER, 3,430 career hits
21 seasons, 1897-1917
"The Flying Dutchman" won eight NL batting titles in his career, spent mostly with Pittsburgh. He was a member of the inaugural Hall of Fame class in 1936. In his "Historical Baseball Abstract," Bill James called Wagner's 1908 season the best of all-time. He played brilliant defense at shortstop, hit .354 with 109 RBIs in a year when the league ERA was 2.45. Ty Cobb called him "maybe the greatest star ever to take the diamond."
CARL YASTRZEMSKI, 3,419 career hits
23 seasons, 1963-83
Born in Southampton, Yastrzemski is one of two native Long Islanders in the 3,000-hit club. He was actually a bigger basketball star than a baseball star in high school, when he broke Jim Brown's career scoring record. "Yaz" went onto to become a hero in Boston, where he spent his entire career. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989.
PAUL MOLITOR, 3,319 career hits
21 seasons, 1978-98
Although he was never a dominant player, Molitor was a feared clutch hitter, represented by his .368 career postseason average. He hit .391 in the 1993 ALCS for Toronto, then helped the Jays beat the Phillies in the '93 World Series by going 12-for-24 with two doubles, two triples and two home runs in the six-game series.
EDDIE COLLINS, 3,315 career hits
25 seasons, 1906-30
Collins was born in upstate Dutchess County, attended high school in Tarrytown and went to Columbia for college. He played 25 seasons with the Philadelphia A's and Chicago White Sox, and was a part of the "Black Sox" team that threw the 1919 World Series -- although Collins was not regarded to be a part of the conspiracy. Baseball historian Bill James cites him as the greatest second baseman of all-time.
11) WILLIE MAYS, 3,283 career hits
22 seasons, 1951-73
Considered by many to be the greatest player of all-time, Mays was the original five-tool player. He stole as many as 40 bases in a season, smacked a career-high of 52 home runs, had a career .302 average, and won 11 Gold Gloves awards as the centerfielder for the New York and San Francisco Giants. He retired in 1973 after helping the Mets reach the World Series and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1979.
12) EDDIE MURRAY, 3,255 career hits
21 seasons, 1977-97
Murray was one of the game's best players during his 12 years in Baltimore and thereafter maintained a steady output as his career took him to the Dodgers, Mets, Indians and Angels. A switch hitter with power, Murray hit home runs from both sides of the plate in the same game 11 times in his career, an MLB record. He is one of four players with 500 career home runs and 3,000 hits.
13) NAP LAJOIE, 3,242 career hits
21 seasons, 1896-1916
Lajoie played for both the Philadelphia A's and Phillies, as well as the Cleveland Bluebirds, who renamed themselves the Naps soon after acquiring Lajoie in 1902. Lajoie and Ty Cobb engaged in a memorable rivalry during the 1910 season, when the Chalmers Automobile Company offered a car to the winner of the batting title. The well-liked Lajoie and hated Cobb dueled until the end of the season, when Lajoie was allowed by the St. Louis Browns to reach base eight times in a season-ending doubleheader, giving Lajoie the lead. Both were players ultimately awarded the car.
14) CAL RIPKEN JR., 3,184 career hits
21 seasons, 1981-2001
Best remembered as baseball's top iron man (he broke Lou Gehrig's record by playing in his 2,131st consecutive game in 1995), Ripken was one of the game's best infielders during the late 20th Century. A two-time MVP, Ripken played Gold Glove defense and was a 19-time All-Star, a testament to his immense popularity.
15) GEORGE BRETT, 3,154 career hits
21 seasons, 1973-93
The fiery Brett was the heart and soul of the Royals during their glory years from 1975 until the late 80s. Without sacrificing power, Brett was a consistent, dependable hitter. In 1980, he won the AL MVP award by hitting 24 home runs, driving in 118 runs and batting .390, the second-highest MLB season average since 1941. |
16) PAUL WANER, 3,152 career hits
20 seasons, 1926-45
Waner won the 1927 NL MVP by batting .380 and accumulating 237 hits. He would break the 200-hit mark seven more times in his career. The rightfielder nicknamed "Big Poison" came up with Pittsburgh and played 15 seasons there before moving on to the Brooklyn Dodgers and Boston Braves. He ended his career by playing a total of 10 games for the Yankees in 1944 and '45. |
17) ROBIN YOUNT, 3,142 career hits
20 seasons, 1974-93
Along with George Brett, Yount was the American League's best pure hitter in the 1970s and 80s. Yount, who was not as powerful as Brett, nonetheless won two AL MVP awards, and collected more hits in the 1980s than any other player. He broke into the majors with the Brewers at age 18 and spent his entire career in Milwaukee.
18) TONY GWYNN, 3,141 career hits
20 seasons, 1982-2001
Although his pudgy frame indicated otherwise, Gwynn was a terrific all-around athlete. No one handled a bat better in his 20 years with the San Diego Padres. Gwynn coined the term "5.5 hole," so named for the lefthanded hitter's ability to consistently slap the ball between the third baseman and shortstop. He recorded 200 or more hits five times, won an NL-record eight batting titles and posted the highest average since 1941 with a .394 in the strike-shortened 1994 season.
19) DAVE WINFIELD, 3,110 career hits
22 seasons, 1973-95
Winfield's legacy in New York is probably best defined by his relationship with George Steinbrenner, who signed the rightfielder to a 10-year contract before the 1981 season and later dubbed him "Mr. May" for his postseason failures. None of that diminishes Winfield's Hall of Fame career. He was an incredible athlete, drafted by teams in four pro leagues. He never played a game in the minors before debuting for the Padres in 1973. He narrowly missed winning the 1984 batting title and helped the Blue Jays win the 1992 World Series.
20) CRAIG BIGGIO, 3,060 career hits
20 seasons, 1988-2007
The Kings Park native is the most recent addition to the 3,000 hits club. Playing most of his career at second base, and some in centerfield, Biggio was an equally talented fielder, baserunner and hitter. Along with fellow "Killer B" Jeff Bagwell, Biggio was a cornerstone of the Astros franchise for 20 years. His 2,850 games played was the 15th highest-total all-time.
21) RICKEY HENDERSON, 3,055 career hits
25 seasons, 1979-2003
The best leadoff hitter of all-time. Henderson rewrote the record books in several categories, using blinding speed, aggressive baserunning, power and plate discipline to climb way into the top 25 all-time in six major statistical categories, including first in stolen bases, first in runs scored and second in walks. He is the only member of the 3,000 hits club who played for the Mets and Yankees.
22) ROD CAREW, 3,055 career hits
19 seasons, 1967-85
Using a variety of relaxed batting stances, Carew swatted his way to averages of .330 or better 10 times in his career, spent with Minnesota and the California Angels. He provided little power, but still managed to drive in 100 runs in 1977, when he batted .388 and won the American League MVP award. His career average of .328 is in the top 50 all-time. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991.
23) ALEX RODRIGUEZ, 3,041 career hits
21 seasons, 1994-2015 (active)
A-Rod got his 3,000th career hit in A-Rod fashion -- via the home run. Rodriguez launched his 667th career home run over the rightfield wall on the first pitch he saw from Tigers starter Justin Verlander on Friday, June 19, 2015 to become the 29th member of the club. He became the third player to hit a home run for his 3,000th career hit, joining Wade Boggs and Derek Jeter. He also joined Jeter as the second player to collect his 3,000th career hit in a Yankees uniform.
24) LOU BROCK, 3,023 career hits
19 seasons, 1961-79
Brock recorded 200 hits four times in his career spent mostly with the Cardinals. As great a hitter as he was, Brock was an even better baserunner. He stole 118 bases in 1974 and 938 bases in his career, which both stood as all-time bests until Rickey Henderson came along.
25) RAFAEL PALMEIRO, 3,020 career hits
20 seasons, 1986-2005
Better known as a slugger than a pure hitter, Palmeiro nonetheless reached 3,000 hits in July 2005. Just two weeks later, he tested positive for an anabolic steroid. He is the only eligible member of the 3,000 hits club not to be elected to Cooperstown. He received 11 percent of the vote in his first year on the ballot.
26) CAP ANSON, 3,011 career hits
27 seasons, 1871-97
Adrian "Cap" Anson was one of baseball's first superstars. He broke into the majors in 1871 with the Rockford Forest Citys at 19 years old and batted .300 or better in all but three of his 27 seasons. Playing most of his career with the Chicago White Stockings/Colts, ancestors of the modern-day Cubs, he retired 11 years before the famed 1908 Cubs team won the franchise's last World Series. He was the majors' hits leader for 26 years until Ty Cobb broke his record in 1923.
27) WADE BOGGS, 3,010 career hits
20 seasons, 1982-1999
In an era dominated by sluggers, Boggs proved that you didn't need power to be an MLB star. Though he played 100 games or more in all but two seasons, Boggs surpassed 10 home runs in a season just twice. A career .328 hitter and five-time AL batting champion with Boston, Boggs won a World Series with the 1996 Yankees, a year in which the 38-year-old third baseman batted .311 and made his 12th consecutive All-Star Game. |
28) AL KALINE, 3,007 career hits
22 seasons, 1953-1974
No player represented the Detroit Tigers better than Kaline, who played all 22 seasons in the Motor City. He routinely smashed 20-plus home runs while finishing among AL leaders in batting (his lone batting title came in 1955). He did it all with little fanfare, which went instead to contemporaries like Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle. He was a noted clutch hitter, evidenced by his .379 average against St. Louis in the 1968 World Series. |
29) ROBERTO CLEMENTE, 3,000 career hits
22 seasons, 1955-1972
Tragically, the only player in history to reach 3,000 hits in his final MLB at-bat. Clemente was one of the premiere all-around players of his generation, and is perhaps the best rightfielder of all time. He won four batting titles with the Pittsburgh Pirates and won the 1966 NL MVP. A noted humanitarian who opened doors for Latino players, Clemente was killed on New Year's Eve 1972, when a plane he was riding in, overloaded with supplies for earthquake victims in Nicaragua, crashed immediately after takeoff in Puerto Rico.