Pujols becomes 32nd player to reach 3,000 hits

Albert Pujols became the 32nd player in Major League Baseball history to record his 3,000th hit on Friday night.

The Los Angeles Angels first baseman/designated hitter reached the career milestone with a single off Seattle Mariners pitcher Mike Leake in the fifth inning at Safeco Field.

The 38-year-old three-time National League MVP, 10-time All-Star and two-time World Series champion already had membership among an exclusive club of nine MLB players by hitting 617 career home runs over his 18 seasons so far.

He’s also one of only six players to reach the career milestones of 3,000 hits and 500 home runs, joining Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Eddie Murray, Rafael Palmeiro and Alex Rodriguez.

Going even further, Pujols is only the fourth member of the 3,000-600 club, joining Aaron, Mays and Rodriguez as players with 3,000 hits to also reach 600 homers.

The most recent player before Pujols to join the 3,000 hit club was Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre, who reached the milestone hit on July 30, 2017.

Ichiro Suzuki, besides Pujols and Beltre the only other active MLB player with 3,000 hits, won’t play the rest of the 2018 season after joining the Seattle Mariners’ front office on Thursday. Suzuki, who is leaving the door open to playing in 2019, has 3,089 major-league hits to go along with 1,278 from the start of his career in his native Japan.

The next closest active player to 3,000 career hits is Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera, who collected hit No. 2,666 on Thursday afternoon by going 1-for-4 in his return from a three-game absence dealing with biceps spasms.

Cabrera had to leave the Tigers’ 10-6 loss to the Kansas City Royals after straining his hamstring in the sixth inning and was placed on the 10-day disabled list Friday.