If you’ve been a Rangers fan since at least 2011, Adrian Beltre is likely to be held in high regards as one of your favorite players. On Tuesday, the Rangers legend notched another milestone in his legendary career, this one the biggest of them all as he was named to the Hall of Fame Class of 2024 alongside Joe Mauer and Todd Helton.
As a baseball fan in his thirties, this class hits a level of nostalgia and reality that others have failed to reach. Thus far I’ve watched the induction ceremonies of players I’m familiar with, but often too young to remember how impactful their prime was to the game of baseball. In 2024, these three names resonate deeper into my baseball fandom, and yet another reminder that time truly does fly by faster than imagined.
All said, Tuesday was a special day for Rangers fans everywhere as the world finally learned what we knew all along: Adrian Beltre is a Hall of Famer.
Sure, he didn’t win a World Series (trust me, it still hurts for me too), but what he brought to the field every day was a rare balance of competitive nature, unrivaled talent, and charismatic joy that we may never see again.
For 21 years, he was in the lineup nearly 140 times each season, producing a career slash line of .286/.339/.480. Eight times he was a contender in the MVP race, six of which came during his tenure in Texas. Four times he was named to the All-Star team, five times he was awarded a Gold Glove, and four times he was named a Silver Slugger.
In total, Beltre collected 3,166 hits, 636 doubles, 477 home runs, 1707 runs batted in, and 1524 total runs scored. Beltre is also 1 of 12 players in MLB history to record 3000+ hits and 400+ home runs.
During his Hall of Fame presser on Wednesday afternoon, Beltre was asked if he ever thought of this moment while he was growing up in the Dominican or throughout his playing career. His response, “Never.”
“I never thought about this. I started playing the game because I love the game. I wanted to play the game, I wanted to enjoy what I did. I want to be respected. I want to be the best I could be, but I never thought about the Hall of Fame.”
As the preparations begin for what will be a special day for not only Adrian and his family, but Rangers fans everywhere, it seems fitting that we highlight some of his best moments as a Texas Ranger.
1. October 4, 2011: Beltre Smacks 3 Home Runs in Game 4 of ALDS in Tampa
In his first season with the Rangers, Beltre was a key piece in the Rangers return effort to the Fall Classic. After getting blown out in game one, the Rangers battled back to win games two and three and set up an opportunity to wrap up the series in Tampa. In a game that showed runs to be at a premium, Beltre took it upon himself to push the Rangers into the next round. Leading off the second inning, Beltre blasted a 1-0 pitch to deep left field giving the Rangers a two-run lead. In his next at-bat, Beltre took a 91mph fastball the other direction, depositing his second homer of the game into the front row seats of right field and giving the Rangers a 3-1 lead. With the Rays cutting into the deficit, Beltre stepped in for his third plate appearance of the afternoon as the leadoff man in the seventh. Turning on the first pitch he sees, he launches third home run and what would become the winning run into the left field seats, giving the Rangers the 4th run of the afternoon. That fourth run was just enough offense needed, as the Rangers advanced to the ALCS by defeating the Rays in a score of 4-3.
2. September 1, 2018: Beltre Hits Career Home Run #116 at Globe Life Park
In his final MLB season, Beltre and the Rangers found themselves under .500 in the final month of the regular season. With not much to celebrate, Beltre found a way to make history and give the boys in red something to cheer about. Facing the Jose Berrios and the Twins, Beltre stepped to the plate in the bottom of the fourth inning with the Rangers leading 4-2. The third pitch of the inning was a hanging curveball that Beltre smacked into the left field stands to extend the Rangers lead to 5-2. This blast was the 116th home run Beltre had hit inside Globe Life Park, moving him into second place all-time, trailing only Rafael Palmeiro (130 home runs). Returning to the dugout, Beltre was greeted by the familiar touching of his head from Elvis Andrus, promptly resulting in retaliation per the usual.
3. May 15, 2015: Beltre Launches Career Home Run #400 into Center Field Grass of Globe Life Park
Off to a slow start to the season, the Rangers entered the 36th game of the 2015 season with an overall record of 15-21. Welcoming the Cleveland Indians to town, the first game of the series was off to a hot start as Beltre stepped to the plate in the bottom of the first inning with the score tied at 2-2. Working his count to 3-0, Beltre finds a change-up on the outer part of the plate and drives it to deep center field, ultimately landing on the grass backdrop. As Beltre trots around the bases doning the “Texas” across his chest, stadium crews unveil a banner from the upper outfield walls congratulating the futer Hall of Famer on his 400th career home run. To no one’s surprise, the first man out of the duggout to greet Beltre is none other than Andrus who high fives his friend, and removes his batting helmet. The head touching ensues, laughs are shared, and Beltre is requested by all in attendance for a curtain call. The Rangers would ultimately drop the opening game 8-3, but history made would be remembered far longer than the outcome.
4. July 30th, 2017: Adrian Beltre Makes History with 3000th Career Hit
Sunday afternoon, 92 degrees, Baltimore Orioles in town, nearly sold out crowd, what more could you ask for. Having come up short the night before in front of a sold out crowd, Beltre took the field in what everyone hoped would finally be the day history was made for their favorite Ranger. In the bottom of the second inning, Beltre led off with the crowd on their feet cheering loudly for each potential historic moment. That moment, however, would have to wait as Beltre struck out on a full-count pitch from Wade Miley. His next opportunity would arise in the bottom of the fourth inning with Nomar Mazara leading off first base. Working the count to 3-0, Beltre used his count leverage to jump on a high, 91mph fastball and rip a double down the left field line. To the roar of the crowd, Beltre trots into second base and is immediately greeted by his teammates with hugs and congratulatory words. His children run to the outfield wall, unveiling their fathers image and the words “3000 Career Hits”. After a near 10-minute delay, play would resume and the Rangers would ultimately fall to the Birds in Orange by a score of 10-6. I don’t think anyone in attendance concerned themselves with the loss (I know I certainly didn’t) as a collective joy was had knowing one of their own had accomplished what only 30 men prior had done in history. Beltre would later be joined in the 3000 hit club by friends Albert Pujols (May 4, 2018) and Miguel Cabrera (April 23, 2022).
5. Love of the Game: The Many Antics of Adrian Beltre
It’s impossible to create a list of the best moments in Adrian Beltre’s career, and not talk about the antics he brought to the field every day. Whether it be the on-field banter he shared with teammate Elvis Andrus, the must-see matchups with Felix Hernandez, or getting ejected by umpire Gerry Davis for dragging the on-deck cirlce to the location he felt was his safest place to warm up. You could take a poll of Rangers fans (or baseball fans for that matter) on their favorite Beltre moment, and odds are one of his on-field antics is likely to be their response. Rather than highlighting particular events, we’ll let the tape speak for itself.
Whatever your favorite moments might be from the storied career of Adrian Beltre, one thing is for sure: we all are thrilled he gets his ultimate recognition as the newest member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Congratulations Adrian, there will certainly NEVER be another like you!