Beltre remains humble after 400th homer
Veteran third baseman adds to impressive big league resume
ARLINGTON -- Adrian Beltre hit his 400th career home run on Friday night with his first-inning blast to deep center, but if you asked Beltre, you might not know today was different from any other.
Luckily there's a massive blue and red banner reading, "Congratulations Adrian Beltre," hanging from center field at Globe Life Park to set the record straight.
Beltre -- not far removed from a joyous dugout celebration, a standing ovation and a homer that put him into elite company among third basemen -- was humble and quiet as always after the game.
Asked how he felt about No. 400, Beltre said, "It felt good."
Asked about the banner and the cheers, Beltre said it was a nice gesture, but he would have enjoyed it more if not for the Rangers' 8-3 loss to the Indians.
More than anything, Beltre's demeanor holds true to what Rangers manager Jeff Banister said earlier this week.
"He's the best professional I've ever been around," Banister said. "… How he shows up, 0-for-4 or 4-for-4, it's the same. ... I don't believe that he's a guy who seeks or searches for any accolades or recognition. He just loves to play the game."
Beltre is measured at all times. But he is also one of the greatest power-hitting third basemen in the history of baseball. Beltre is now one of only four players to spend at least 75 percent of his career at the hot corner and hit 400 homers.
Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt (548), Hall of Famer Eddie Mathews (512) and soon-to-be Hall of Famer Chipper Jones (468).
He is the 52nd member of the 400 home run club. The only other active players in that company are Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols and David Ortiz.
"To be a witness to it is incredible to me," Banister said. "I cannot say enough about the man."
Beltre's 400th was textbook, just like essentially everything else he does. It was a 3-0 count. He was waiting for a pitch in his wheelhouse, and he got it. Bruce Chen threw a belt-high sinker over the plate; Beltre put a smooth yet powerful swing on it and watched the line drive sail over the center-field wall.
To baseball fans, Beltre is a four-time Gold Glove winner and a four-time All-Star. His third-inning double put him ahead of Lou Gehrig for 37th all-time. His career 78.6 Wins Above Replacement is 40th in Major League history. And agree or not, he will get serious Hall of Fame consideration.
"I believe he's a Hall of Famer, no matter what the argument is on the other side," Banister said.
In the clubhouse, though, he is still Adrian Beltre, a 36-year-old man from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, who just happens to play third base for the Texas Rangers.
But regardless of whether he enjoys the attention, he's also a member of the 400 home run club.