We are less than a week away from the Hall of Fame announcing who will be inducted in the class of 2024. That is when we will find out if Adrian Beltre gets the call in his first time on the ballot. While it seems almost guaranteed that Beltre will get that call, that was not always the case. In 2011 when Beltre signed with the Texas Rangers he was not the future Hall of Famer that he became while in Arlington. His best season was in 2004 for the LA Dodgers when he hit .334 with 48 home runs at the age of 25. He then left the Dodgers and went to play for the Mariners. He played five pretty forgettable seasons for the Mariners. He then signed a one-year contract with the Boston Red Sox and had a great season in beantown. He hit .321, 28 home runs, 49 doubles, and 102 RBIs. He was quickly developing a reputation as a contract-year superstar and it was warranted. 48 home runs in his Dodgers' contract year, 49 doubles on a one-year contract. If his career ended after 2010 he is not getting into the Hall of Fame. The next act and best act of his career took him to Arlington and that is where he went from no Hall of Fame to no-doubt Hall of Famer. He did it both through being a consistent offensive performer and by continuing to be one of the best defensive players at third base in the history of the game.
What Beltre did at the plate that warrants being elected to the Hall of Fame.
Adrian Beltre prior to coming to Texas was known as an inconsistent offensive player. He would be great some seasons and then average other seasons. He came to Texas in the cauldron of the Texas heat and put together some of the best seasons of his career. He then capped it off by hitting important milestones.
Beltre immediately jumped into being on a World Series contender. In 2011 he hit .296 with 32 home runs, 105 RBIs, and an .892 OPS. He then went into the postseason and hit three home runs in a division-round-clinching game. He then had a memorable moment in the World Series hitting a game-tying home run in game five of the World Series.
He also hit a home run in the infamous game six of the World Series. That season unfortunately ended depressingly. Beltre then continued a solid offensive run in 2012 and 2013. He hit .321 with 36 home runs in 2012. He then followed that up with a .315 batting average, 30 home runs, and 199 hits. From 2011-2013 Beltre made the All-Star game twice, won two Gold Gloves, one Silver Slugger award, and finished in the top 15 of MVP voting in all three seasons. He topped out by finishing third in MVP voting in 2012. He did this all after the age of 32 when production normally drops off.
Beltre continued to produce even after those three seasons. He had a 32-home run season in 2016 with another 100 RBIs and another top 10 MVP finish as well. Beltre's consistent production pushed his numbers up from a good player to a Hall-of-Fame player.
If there was any question about Beltre's Hall of Fame resume it was put to rest in July 2017. Ivan Rodriguez was being inducted into the Hall of Fame as the Rangers were playing an afternoon game.
Beltre in the fourth inning laced a double down the left-field line for his 3,000th hit. He joined a very exclusive club of some of the best hitters in the game. Beltre reached that by playing at a consistent level over a long time.
Beltre made his debut at age 19 and played 21 seasons. He finished with 3,166 hits, 477 home runs, a .286 batting average, and a .819 OPS. His time in Texas led him to be in this position. He played for Texas for eight years and finished with 1,277 hits, 199 home runs, 699 RBIs, and a .304 batting average in his time in Arlington. He did all of that in the heat of Arlington in his age 32-39 seasons. Just a remarkable stretch for a player who was Texas' plan B in the 2010-2011 offseason.