The Case For Carlos In The Hall Of Fame

As I get older, I really don’t feel old, until I notice that my favorite player’s number is on the back of a kid old enough to be my son.

The stadiums I remember from my youth have been replaced by other stadiums and those stadiums have also been replaced.

And I keep seeing player obituaries even though it seems like I just opened my Topps Baseball card pack, popped the gum in my mouth and found that player’s rookie card.

The news that Carlos Beltran is retiring reminds me, that I probably too, have one foot in the grave.

What now seems like years ago, I visited Kauffman Stadium when Beltran still patrolled their outfield. I can’t remember who they played, just that it was before they removed the fountains. I do clearly remember Beltran in the outfield.

He was amazing.

I too remember the heartbreak of Royals fans when he was traded to Houston for his first stint in Houston Astro orange. At the time, Royals fans needed a superstar after Hall-of-Famer George Brett retired. They needed a new identity. Beltran gave them that… and hope.

I still see Beltran as a young Royal, bouncing off of the outfield wall and switching sides of the plate, intimidating pitchers and managers alike… he was a great all-around player, when at the time, all we seemed to have was home run hitters in the form of Sosa and McGwire. Beltran helped teach little league players that small ball -base hits and stolen bases- had value, even though the dinger was a little more fun.

The 1999 AL Rookie-of-the-Year, 9-time all-star and Roberto Clemente award recipient is hanging ‘em up as a lifetime .279 hitter, with 435 home runs, almost 1600 RBIs and 312 stolen bases.

In his youth, Beltran was feared and admired. Heck, even during the World Series this year you didn’t know if he’d be able to rekindle a little of the past.

I suppose after pursuing the championship for so many years and finally winning one this year with the Astros, it could cause a long-time professional like Beltran to pause, consider and commit to retirement.

I mean, he’s played for the Royals, Astros, Mets, Giants, Cardinals, Yankees, Rangers and Astros again. Those teams combined for 11 of the last 20 World Series Champions, and Beltran played for each of them at one time or another in the last 20 years. But only won the title once!

If I’m Beltran, and I’ve proven that I can only pick the right team once in 20 years, I’m retiring too.

Congrats Carlos. You’ll be missed.

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