ARLINGTON, Texas -- A congratulatory letter from Willie Mays and a video tribute including a request from George Brett were part of a pregame ceremony in which the Texas Rangers recognized Adrian Beltre for joining the 3,000-hit club.
The ceremony Friday night before the series opener against the New York Yankees included the reading of a letter from Mays that started, "This is Willie here. Welcome to the club." Mays wrote that he knows it's not an easy accomplishment and told Beltre to "keep at it" because everybody loves to watch him hit.
A video shown during the ceremony included Brett, Pedro Martinez, Paul Molitor, David Ortiz, Robinson Cano, Felix Hernandez and Nelson Cruz congratulating Beltre on becoming the 31st player, and first from the Dominican Republic, to get 3,000 hits.
"When you get 3,153 (hits), retire, and five years after you retire, I will see you in Cooperstown," said Brett, a Hall of Famer whose 3,154 hits are the most by a third baseman.
Beltre got his 3,000th hit with a double July 30 at home against Baltimore. The third baseman has 3,035 career hits, though he hasn't played since straining his left hamstring Aug. 31 and could miss the rest of the regular season for wild card-hopeful Texas.
"This is a little bittersweet," Beltre said. "I'm humbled and grateful for the honor, but it would be nicer if I could go back out and play. I know it's supposed to be at least four weeks. It's going a little slow for my liking. I want to be optimistic, but I don't know that I can say when I will play again."
The Rangers presented Beltre with an ATV that was driven on the field by teammate Elvis Andrus, as well as one of the bases from the July 30 game that was signed by the entire team. There also was a proclamation from Arlington's mayor declaring "Adrian Beltre Day" and a plaque presented on behalf of the Dominican Republic recognizing him for his achievements.
"When you have 3,000 hits every day is Adrian Beltre day," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said when addressing the crowd.