Albert Pujols Becomes 32nd Player in MLB History to Join 3,000-Hit Club

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistMay 5, 2018

Los Angeles Angels' Albert Pujols, right, hits an RBI double as Chance Sisco, left, watches along with home plate umpire Brian Gorman during the second inning of a baseball game Thursday, May 3, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. The double marked his 2,999th career hit. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols became the 32nd player in Major League Baseball history to register 3,000 hits when he laced a single off Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Mike Leake in the 5th inning of Friday's game. 

Pujols is the first player to join the 3,000-hit club since Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre did so last July. His accomplishment also means a player has made his way into the exclusive fraternity four years in a row. 

Alex Rodriguez registered his 3,000th hit with a solo home run versus the Detroit Tigers in 2015, while Ichiro Suzuki reached the plateau when he ripped a triple against the Colorado Rockies in 2016. 

"To get to that number is going to be really special. It's something you don't aim for or focus on, but when you're this close, you're like, 'Wow, that's a lot of hits,'" Pujols told ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick

An 18-year veteran, Pujols is also looking to become the fourth player in MLB history with at least 600 career home runs, 3,000 hits and 2,000 RBI. The other three are Rodriguez, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays. 

"If you had told me 17 years ago when I was drafted by the Cardinals that I would have had a career like this, I would have laughed at you in the face," Pujols said, per USA Today's Bob Nightengale. "What a journey I've had.

"And you know what, it's not over yet."

While Pujols pursues more milestones in the months ahead, Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera and Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano will set their sights on trying to become the next members of the 3,000-hit club. 

Cabrera is sitting on 2,666 hits, while Cano has registered 2,408 with plenty more to come, in his estimation. 

"I know if I stay healthy, and I can play for the next six years healthy, I can do it," Cano said, according to the Associated Press' Stephen Hawkins. "But I know there are too many hits left. I don't think, 'I've got to get there.' I go step by step and play this season and see how it goes, and play the next and see how it goes and see how close you get."

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