Castro's 200th hit puts him in record book

ST. LOUIS -- They used to say it about Hank Sauer, then Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Billy Williams, Ryne Sandberg and Sammy Sosa. Now Cubs fans can put Starlin Castro on the list of players who are worth the price of admission, even when the team is not.

On Friday night, Castro, 21, became the youngest Cub ever to get 200 hits in a season. His line drive single in the first inning off Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter put him in the record books.

“I’m very happy for him,” said Alfonso Soriano, whose three-run home run in the eighth inning proved to be the game-winner. “Two-hundred hits in his first full year in the big leagues looks easy for him. But it’s not easy. I did it once, but I never did it again.”

Castro is the 16th Cub in history to record 200 hits in a season and the first major leaguer since Alex Rodriguez in 1996 to do it at age 21.

“As long as he continues to work hard and improve, he’s a potential superstar,” Cubs starter Ryan Dempster said. “He sure can hit. His hand-and-eye coordination is incredible. He has great ability to put the barrel of the bat on the ball. He’s going to be better defensively, and baserunning and knowledge of the game. The sky is the limit for him. It’s fun to watch someone grow with so much talent.”

Castro has led the National League in hits for most of the season. And even approaching 700 plate appearances, he still isn’t looking for a day off.

“That’s why I keep working, because I want to be a superstar in the major leagues,” Castro said.