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Looking Back at the Illustrious Career of Adrian Beltre

Adrian Beltre smiles in the batter's box during a home game for the Texas Rangers.

After announcing his retirement six years ago, Adrian Beltre is joining the Hall of Fame alongside Todd Helton and Joe Mauer.

On Tuesday afternoon, the National Baseball Hall of Fame announced that 3B Adrian Beltre, C Joe Mauer, and 1B Todd Helton will headline this year’s festivities. Beltre and Mauer were first-year selections, while Helton had to wait six years to enter the Baseball Hall of Fame. Without a doubt these players worked hard enough to be selected to the Hall of Fame.

No to mention, Adrian Beltre also becomes the fifth Dominican to join the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Santo Domingo native joins RHP Juan Marichal, RHP Pedro Martinez, OF Vladimir Guerrero Sr. and DH David Ortiz as the only Dominicans to be inducted. Even better, Beltre nearly secured a unanimous induction but ultimately received a 95.1% voting percentage. The unanimous record is still held by RHP Mariano Rivera.

By the Numbers

The impressive numbers Beltre possesses are the reason he recently got inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. After leaving the Seattle Mariners in 2010, his offensive numbers boosted up tremendously. He sought help from Red Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan during that time. As a result, his strikeout rate went from 16.2% to 12.3% thanks to him getting tips that made him better. After leaving Boston, Beltre did also thrive once he arrived with the Texas Rangers. In his final eight seasons with Texas, he managed to become a .300 hitter along with 199 home runs and 699 RBI. That just shows how consistent he was.

Then there were his defensive numbers. He earned himself back-to-back Gold Glove awards in 2007 and 2008. Once he arrived in Boston and Texas, those flashing plays with his glove were still there regardless of the team he played with. In addition, he finished with five Gold Gloves in total. His hard work did indeed pay off.

His Best Years

When looking at a particular player like Adrian Beltre, there have been many best years to choose from. The one particular season that comes to mind is his historic 2004 season with the Los Angeles Dodgers. During that time, the best version of himself took over. He led the majors with 48 homers, drove in 121 runs, and posted a 1.017 OPS. As a result, he finished second place in the National League Most Valuable Player voting. Fortunately, that was his last season as a Dodger, so he cashed in as a free agent.

He began his major league career with the Dodgers when he was signed as an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic back in 1994. Then four years later, Beltre made his major league debut. During the seven seasons he spent with Los Angeles, he hit 147 of his 477 homers, while also recording 949 of his 3,166 hits. That just shows how impressive his career was when he took off back in the ’90s.

Another year that was among the best during Beltre’s 21 major league career was back in 2017. Back then, he was entering his 6th season with the Texas Rangers. What made that year special was due to another huge accomplishment he was able to pull off. On July 30 with a full home crowd in Arlington, Beltre ripped a double down the left-field line that would turnout to be hit number 3,000. Priority to reaching this accomplishment, He also joined 3B Wade Boggs and 3B George Brett as the only third basemen to reach the mark as well as the first Dominican, followed by 1B Albert Pujols later on.

His Down Years

As Beltre reach the midpoint of this major league career, he also dealt with setbacks. Injuries during his playing time with the Seattle Mariners limited his playing time. As a result, his numbers slowly started to decline. In his first full season in a Mariner uniform, Beltre managed to hit .255 with 19 home runs in 156 games played. Beltre only played in 111 games in 2009 with a poor OPS of .683.

It did take time for Beltre to recover from his bad playing years. Until he signed with the Red Sox, Beltre was able to find his rhythm once more again. In 2010, he slashed .321/.365/.553, earning him All-Star honors. In addition, he was the Major League leader in doubles (49) that also featured 28 homers. Indeed, it seemed that he was able to find his old groove once again after the troubled times he had during his Seattle days.

What’s Next

With his career in the books already, it would be interesting to see what Beltre does next. Whether it’s playing a special advisor role for any of the previously mentioned teams he played for or being there to help young players reach their potential. It would also be interested to see who the next Dominican would be to follow up after the latest announcement of Beltre making the Baseball Hall of Fame. There are some interesting names that deserve considerations. These names include SS Jose Reyes, RHP Bartolo Colon, 3B Alex Rodriguez, OF Manny Ramirez, 1B Albert Pujols, and OF Jose Bautista. Colon, Reyes, and Bautista did not reach five percent, and Pujols is not yet eligible, but the others are names to watch for on next year’s Hall of Fame ballot.

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