Texas Rangers’ Adrian Beltre tips his helmet as he acknowledges cheers after hitting a double for his 3,000th career hit that came off a pitch from Baltimore Orioles’ Wade Miley in the fourth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, July 30, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. AP NEWSWIRE

Texas Rangers’ Adrian Beltre tips his helmet as he acknowledges cheers after hitting a double for his 3,000th career hit that came off a pitch from Baltimore Orioles’ Wade Miley in the fourth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, July 30, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. AP NEWSWIRE

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Adrian Beltre had a feeling like none other he has experienced on a baseball field when he saw his three children coming toward him. Then they kept running to the wall in right-center field.

Only after helping unveil a logo commemorating Beltre’s 3,000th career hit did the kids return to hug their father , the 38-year-old Texas Rangers third baseman who had just become the first player from the Dominican Republic, and 31st overall, in the major leagues to do that.

“What happened today after the hit, it was the best moment in my life,” Beltre said. “When I saw that, I felt like I was in the cloud, because I really saw the joy in their faces. It was a nice moment to enjoy with them, my family, my wife.”

Beltre reached the milestone in the fourth inning of a 10-6 loss Sunday to Baltimore Orioles, who got homers from Jonathan Schoop and Welington Castillo in a five-run fifth.

“It’s an honor to be here for it. Especially, we couldn’t have drawn it up better where we win and we get a chance to see that,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “Everybody in the game has a lot of respect for him, not only statistically but the way he’s handled success over the years.”

The Rangers were already down 4-0 when Beltre, who finished his 2,771st career game 1 for 5, had a hard hit down the line — fittingly past third base — for a double.

A banner was unfurled high above straightaway center field congratulating him. His teammates, who had crowded on the rail of the first-base dugout to be as close as possible to the historic moment, flooded onto the field to celebrate with him.

Beltre’s two daughters and 10-year-old son Adrian Jr. left their front-row seats near the dugout they had shared with family members, including Beltre’s parents.

“We have a lot of great baseball players in the Dominican Republic, and I’m proud to be one of them,” Beltre said, calling the moment even more special being able to share it with his father on what was Father’s Day in the Dominican Republic.

Now in his 20th big league season, he is only the third player who is primarily a third baseman in the 3,000-hit club, joining Hall of Famers George Brett and Wade Boggs.

The milestone came only minutes after former Rangers catcher Ivan Rodriguez finished his induction speech at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Barring unusual circumstances, getting 3,000 hits has traditionally been a ticket to the Hall.

Rangers manager Jeff Banister, who referred to Beltre as the “next Hall of Famer” said July 30 will forever be one that Texas fans will remember as “Ranger Day.”

“Like we told him earlier, he means so much to this organization, to this team, a mentor to every single player and coach,” Banister said. “We thanked him for allowing us to tag along this journey with him, and be part of it.”

A pre-recorded message from Rodriguez in Cooperstown congratulating Beltre for 3,000 hits was played on the stadium video boards after the fourth ended.

“I just think it’s amazing,” said Jeff Bagwell, who was inducted with Rodriguez. “He’s just an amazing baseball player, arguably one of the best third basemen of all time. He can do everything. He plays hurt, he hits for average, he hits for power, drives in runs. He’s a great, great player.”

The only other current active player in the 3,000-hit club is Miami Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, who is tied with Hall of Fame player Craig Biggio for 22nd all-time at 3,060 hits.

Beltre is tied for 30th place on the hits list with Roberto Clemente. Al Kaline (3,007) and Boggs (3,010) are next up on the list.


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