Top 10 Batters Without 3,000 Hits
Saturday afternoon, New York Yankee great Derek Jeter became the 28th member of baseball's 3,000 hit club.
In his second at-bat he hit a home run that cleared the left-center fence, making him the first player in pinstripes to join one of the game's most exclusive clubs.
It is hard to believe that the most successful club in the history of the game and one of the most recognized sports brands in the world would have to wait 150 years for its first 3,000 hit member. Even the San Diego Padres can claim two players on that list (Tony Gwynn in 1999 and Ricky Henderson in 2001).
But facts like that are what make this milestone one of the greatest personal achievements in all of sports.
The 28 names on the list are all great players in their own right. However, the number is not the distinction that separates hitting legends from the rest.
This is a list of the top 10 hitters of all-time who never reached 3,000, but nonetheless remain some of the greatest batters in the history of the game.
10. Frank Robinson
Career Avg: .294
Frank Robinson is best known as one of the great power hitters. At the time of his retirement he had 586 career homers, putting him fourth on the all-time list.
His power was forever immortalized on May 8th, 1966, at Memorial Stadium. Facing Cleveland Indians pitcher Luis Tiant, the 49,000 fans in attendance saw the first and only time a home run would leave the Orioles ball park. The ball was measured at a distance of 540 feet, one of the longest ever.
That home run helped Robinson become the first and only minority player to ever hit for the Triple Crown with a .316 average, 49 home runs, and 122 RBI.
9. Jimmie Foxx
Career Avg: .325
Jimmie Foxx took Babe Ruth's spot as the games big-time slugger after the Bambino's career started to decline.
He became only the second player to reach 500 home runs, and he did so more quickly than Ruth, at 32 years 336 days of age. 13 players would reach the 500 milestone after him before Alex Rodriguez would do it faster 68 years later.
Foxx's bat helped him win back-to-back MVP's in 1932 and 1933, as well as a third in 1938. He is one of only nine players to ever win the award three or more times.
8. Willie Keeler
Career Avg: .341
Willie Keeler got the nickname "Wee Willie" because of his short stature. But that short stature made him one of the all-time great small ball hitters.
Out of 19 seasons in the Majors, he would hit over .300 16 times. In 1897 would join the .400 club batting .424, seventh best all-time.
One season later, Keeler hit an astounding 206 singles, a record that would go untouched for over 100 years until it was broken by Ichiro Suzuki. He also had eight straight seasons of 200 hits or more, another record that would be broken by Suzuki in 2009.
Keeler also broke Bill Dahlen's 42 game hit streak record, finishing the 1897 season with 45 games straight with a hit.
Being one of the smallest players ever elected to the hall of fame, he could not rely on his strength to belt the ball out of the park. As he would advise players, "Keep your eye clear, and hit 'em where they ain't."
Keeler had perfected the bunt so well that the third strike foul bunt rule was imposed because pitchers could not strike him out.
He also perfected the "Baltimore Chop," which became a signature swing for the speedy player.
7. Joe Jackson
Career Avg: .356
'Shoeless' Joe Jackson is best remembered for his involvement in the Black Sox Scandal of 1919. But his statistics, looked at objectively, show him as one of the greatest hitters in the history of the game.
In his 12 seasons in the big leagues he would never bat below .300 and included an average of .408 in 1911, his first full season in the majors. He had a career .356 average, putting him third on the all-time list, behind only Ty Cobb and Roger Hornsby.
His career would be cut short after being banned from the majors for his involvement with the Black Sox. Had he continued to play, his average hits per season would have put him among the Top 10 in all-time hits.
6. Roger Hornsby
Career Avg: .358
Roger Hornsby holds some of the most unattainable records in sports. A mix of strength and skill, he was a threat to hit a home run each at-bat just as much as a single or double.
He is one of only three players to ever hit over .400 three times in his career. In 1924 he hit .424, a mark that has not been met since. Those seasons helped boost his average to .358, putting him second all-time only to Ty Cobb.
He is also the only National Leaguer to ever win the Triple Crown twice and one of four to win the "Decade Triple Crown" for the 1920s.
His incredible speed also helped him beat out many plays. Between 1916 and 1927 Hornsby had 30 inside-the-park home runs.
5. George Sisler
Career Avg: .340
George Sisler had many great seasons in the majors, but nothing came close to the performance he had in 1922.
During that season he batted .420, hit safely in a then-record 41 consecutive games, led the American League in hits (246), stolen bases (51), and triples (18).
It is regarded by many as one of the greatest indivudal seasons in the game's history.
4. Joe Dimaggio
Career Avg: .325
Joe DiMaggio's presence at Yankee Stadium went well beyond his play. His good looks and marriage to Marilyn Monroe gave him movie star status.
But his on-field performance is still what gave him the nickname the "Yankee Clipper."
His record 56 game hit-streak remains one of the most difficult records to break. Second place belongs to Willie Keeler, the man whom DiMaggio surpassed originally. Pete Rose is the most recent to ever approach it, but his streak ended 12 games short.
He would make 13 All-Star Games. He remains the only player to ever make the mid-summer classic in every season he played.
Like many from his era, the war would interrupt some of his most formative years and keep him from getting to the 3,000 mark.
3. Lou Gehrig
Career Avg: .340
Gehrig was the games first iron man, playing in 2,130 straight games. In that time he would make himself into one of the greatest hitters the game had ever seen.
His 23 career gand slams and eight straight seasons with 120+ RBIs are records that still stand today.
Sadly, his career and life were cut short when he developed ALS in his 17th season in the league.
There is little doubt that, had he continued to play, he would have gotten 3,000 hits and maybe eclipsed Ruth as the most prominent player ever to put on the pin stripes.
2. Ted Williams
Career Avg: .344
Ted Williams was not only one the greatest hitters ever, but he reinvented the game with his analytical approach to offense. He often studied pitchers and formulated batting into a near-science.
He preferred a lighter bat to the more common heavy ones, as it gave him more control and discipline at the plate.
In 1941, that control allowed him to hit .406, which he achieved on the last day of the season. He would be the last player to ever hit over .400 in the majors.
His career average of .344 is seventh all-time and the highest of any player in the modern game.
Williams played 19 years for the Boston Red Sox, but twice his career was interrupted by military service. He would spend a total of six years in the military between World War II and Korea.
He averaged 139 hits a season and would have easily eclipsed the 3,000 mark had he been a full-time major league player.
1. Babe Ruth
Career Avg: .342
There is not much more that can be said about Babe Ruth that has not been said already.
His career total of 714 home runs shattered the previous record and keeps him currently in third.
He is also first in slugging percentage, second in RBI and on-base percentage.
Unlike most power hitters, he would hit for average as well. His career .342 gives him the tenth best all-time. He is the highest ranking power hitter on the list.
He is arguably the greatest offensive player ever to play the game, but was never able to reach the coveted 3,000 hits.
Please comment on anything you may think is wrong or players I missed. I am always open for a good debate!