Xander's 1,000th hit a high point in Sox loss

September 8th, 2019

BOSTON -- The biggest reason wanted to get career hit No. 1,000 on Saturday against the Yankees was a gentle nudge from his mother, Sandra Brown, that came electronically in the hours leading up to the game.

You see, it's Sandra’s birthday, and she had family and friends at her house on Aruba watching the game.

“She kind of texted me, like, ‘You gotta do it today.' I’m like, ‘My numbers aren’t pretty good against [J.A.] Happ.’ In the end, I got one, and it was nice.”

A .154 hitter against Happ entering the day, Bogaerts belted a single through the shift and into right-center in the bottom of the fourth to give his mother another baseball birthday present to savor, albeit on a day the Red Sox lost, 5-1, to the Yankees.

“I think it was definitely a special day for me,” said Bogaerts. “My mom’s birthday. My first big league home run came against the Yankees on my mom’s birthday. A thousand hits against the Yankees on my mom’s birthday again is pretty neat.”

So on the sixth anniversary of his first career homer, Bogaerts got the 1,000th hit. In other words, those were a fairly fast 1,000 hits.

The popular shortstop joins Tris Speaker and Bobby Doerr as the only players in Red Sox history to collect that many hits before turning 27.

Bogaerts will celebrate his 27th birthday on Oct. 1. Doerr and Speaker are both in the Hall of Fame. That puts Bogaerts in some lofty company.

“I guess that’s something nice for you to say,” said Bogaerts. “I didn’t know about those two guys. [PR director] Kevin [Gregg] just told me about it. I knew I needed one hit. I just didn’t know who it was, or anything like that. Obviously, those are some big names and some great players. Hopefully I can stay healthy and play many more years here.”

It is certainly set up for Bogaerts to play many more years in Boston.

Back on March 31, as the Sox were leaving Seattle and heading to Oakland, that word broke that Bogaerts signed a six-year, $120 million contract extension.

He has spent the ensuing months rewarding the organization’s faith in him by producing the best season of his career.

“I’m glad he got it. He’s having a career year, and I do feel that there’s a few things he’s going to keep improving,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. “Like I said before, if people don’t consider him the best shortstop in the big leagues, he should be in the conversation.”

The right-handed-hitting Bogaerts has been an offensive machine since being promoted to the Red Sox late in the 2013 season and has helped the team win two World Series championships.

Thanks to the timely contract extension that ensured 2019 would not be a “walk year,” Bogaerts is likely to collect many more milestone hits for the Red Sox.

The new deal doesn’t even start until next season, and it also includes an option for ‘26.

Though performance is never guaranteed, Bogaerts has given the Red Sox a lot of reasons to bet on him going forward.

“This kid, in the offseason, he takes his time off, he goes home, but then he goes to Arizona and he works,” said Cora. “He shows up early in Fort Myers. He’s looking for ways to get better. Off the field, he’s been great. He takes care of himself, condition-wise. Games are over, and he’s in there doing everything possible to be able to bounce back for the next game. We see it.”

And it is in the supposed dog days of the season when you really see it with Bogaerts.

“Some guys, towards the end of the season, they’re getting tired, they look actually smaller. With him, it’s the other way around,” Cora said. “I don’t know how he does it, but he’s so into his routine and he’s structured, and that’s what happened.”

There have been other milestones for Bogaerts this season. On Aug. 14 he smashed his 100th homer, in Cleveland. And on Aug. 28, at Denver, he amassed his 30th homer and 100th RBI with one swing, making him Boston’s first 30/100 player at shortstop since Nomar Garciaparra in 1998.

But this one was the most meaningful, because it was basically gift-wrapped for the most influential woman in his life back home.