The Texas Rangers are nearing their first opening day without #29. Adrian Beltre’s talent will be missed, but not as much as his personality.
There are very few things in life that can make you feel young, old, happy, and sad all at the same time. Baseball is one of these things. It is in the blood of every American whether we like it or not. The baseball players that we idolize and greatly appreciate prove to us that success isn’t bought; it is earned with hard work and grit. And it’s refreshing when a player has fun on his way to success. There is nobody in baseball, perhaps in the history of the game, who embodies the description more than Texas Rangers’ legend Adrian Beltre.
Yes, we all know of the obvious statistical prowess of Mr. Beltre: 3,166 career hits, 477 career home runs, a career .286 batting average; not to mention 4 All-Star appearances, 5 gold gloves, 2 platinum gloves, and 4 silver slugger awards. He is a Hall of Famer through and through.
In my opinion he is the best 3rd baseman of all time, although some would argue Mike Schmidt, George Brett or Eddie Mathews. Beltre is towards the top of almost every stat-line that exists; he’ll go down as one of the greatest players ever. But stats aren’t what makes him special. What makes him special is the kind of person he is and the way he played the game.
Countless players have laced up their cleats in the city of Arlington, but none have made as much of an impact socially as well as statistically. Adrian Beltre has captured the hearts and souls of not only Texas Rangers fans, but baseball fans young and old across the country. From acting as the father figure to Elvis Andrus, to getting tossed for moving an on-deck circle, his personality has been the crown jewel of his career.
Beltre became a GIF sensation with his unpredictable reactions and his wild sense of humor. The touching of his head, along with him goofing around with Andrus became must see TV. It’s easy to see all the funny things he does, but what’s even better is to see the respect and admiration other legends of the game have for him. We saw the playfulness between him and Felix Hernandez, or with Miguel Cabrera.
Beltre’s astounding personality has made him the true embodiment of baseball. The Yankees can have Derek Jeter, Babe Ruth and all the others. The Rangers have the man who constantly reminded us that baseball is just a game, and, like life, it is meant to be enjoyed and meant to be fun. That’s what I believe to be the most important contribution to his legacy. The memory of Beltre will be forever lasting due to him being him, rather than 3,000 hits. Then again, that doesn’t hurt either.
Adrian Beltre, although otherworldly talent-wise, was also otherworldly character-wise. He will be genuinely missed at the hot corner where he handled every single moment with class. I truly wish and hope that baseball is reminded of him with every single knee drop home run in the future.