HOUSTON -- José Altuve made history on Tuesday night against the Cardinals, notching his 1,000th career hit with a single in the bottom of the ninth in the Astros' 8-5 loss to St. Louis. It was Altuve's third hit of the night after he'd notched singles in two of his first three at-bats.
"I'm so proud of that guy," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "He continues to be exceptional, and to have that moment where, in front of our home crowd, he can get his 1,000th hit in a very short time in his career is a real highlight in my career."
Houston's All-Star second baseman reached the milestone in 786 games, making him the fastest player to 1,000 in franchise history and the second fastest among active Major Leaguers behind Ichiro Suzuki, who did it in his 696th game.
"I feel right now like I don't want to stop," Altuve said. "I want to keep getting better and help my team, and I'm not going to be [satisfied] until I take my team to the World Series."
At 26 years and 102 days old, Altuve reached 1,000 hits at a younger age than all but eight of the 30 members of the 3,000 hit club. The eight who were younger than Altuve at the time of their 1,000th hit are Ty Cobb, Al Kaline, Alex Rodriguez, Robin Yount, Hank Aaron, Tris Speaker, George Brett and Derek Jeter.
After reaching first base following the hit, Altuve took a moment to acknowledge the fans and thank them for supporting him throughout his career.
"All the games it took for me to get my 1,000th hit, they were here for me, pushing me, encouraging me," he said, "and I have to [say thank you] for everything that the fans, my teammates and everybody has done for me."
For context, Altuve reached 1,000 hits in 45 fewer games than Pete Rose, who ultimately finished his career with 4,256. Altuve also reached the milestone in 103 fewer games than the second-fastest in Astros history, Cesar Cedeno, who notched his 1,000th hit in 889 games.
It's more of the same during a historic season from Altuve. Entering Tuesday he led the American League in batting average (.362), hits (167) and OBP (.427) while ranking second in total bases (264), OPS (1.000), WAR (6.9) and slugging percentage (.573).
"I hope the people that are here and the people around him and the people that get to watch him daily appreciate what he does and how he does it," Hinch said. "We're scratching the surface on what's possible."
Rookie Alex Bregman -- who achieved a milestone of his own earlier in the game with his first Major League homer -- said that what impresses him the most about Altuve is how hard he works despite all the success.
"The coolest thing about it is he's the youngest to get to 1,000 hits in Astros history and he's not satisfied," Bregman said. "He's trying to get better every single day. He's constantly just working, working, working.
"He's pretty spectacular. He's got to be the best player in baseball."