Adrian Beltre is the 3,000-hit man who Dodgers let get away – Orange County Register

Adrian Beltre had a phenomenal 2004 season with the Dodgers, finishing second in the NL MVP voting to Giants slugger Barry Bonds. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

The Dodgers lost Adrian Beltre after the 2004 season.

Apparently they figured anybody could play third base. Turned out, everybody did.

Beltre’s position became as erratically staffed as the drive-thru window at Arby’s. Anybody who can recite all the Dodger third basemen in the span between Beltre and Justin Turner should either appear on Jeopardy or get serious counseling.

There was Wilson Betemit, Luis Cruz, Oscar Robles, Blake DeWitt, Aaron Miles, Juan Uribe and Casey Blake, and those were just the guys who led the Dodgers in third base appearances in any particular year.

Russell Martin took his turns and so did Robin Ventura. Add Jamey Carroll and Ron Belliard and Justin Sellers. Don’t forget Olmedo Saenz, Chone Figgins, Nick Punto, Jerry Hairston and Shea Hillenbrand.

For such a renowned leader, Beltre sure was hard to follow.

The Dodgers turned to Turner in 2015 and they have not regretted it. But now Beltre blows past the 3,000-hit mark while playing for Texas. No one has ever done that in a Dodger uniform.

Beltre becomes the 31st player to get to 3,000. It is the final dotted-i and crossed-t on his Hall of Fame application. George Brett and Wade Boggs are the only players who spent most of their careers at third base and got to 3,000, and Beltre was better defensively than both and hit more home runs. That’s 453 and counting, because the 38-year-old is signed through 2018.

Only three other third basemen have 400 home runs and 1,500 runs batted in.

In 1997, the Dodgers played in Cooperstown’s now-defunct Hall of Fame Game, played the day after the inductions, but Beltre was along for the ride at age 18.

“I’m glad you’re here today,” General Manager Fred Claire told him. “Because after you finish your career, this is where you’ll wind up.”

Third basemen are commandos. Nobody…

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