New York Yankees DH Alex Rodriguez hit a solo homer off Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander to collect the 3,000th hit of his MLB career Friday.
It was the 667th home run of his career. Rodriguez, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays are the only players to collect 3,000 hits and 600 home runs in the major leagues.
The No. 1 overall draft pick by the Seattle Mariners in 1993, Rodriguez began his professional baseball career in the Midwest League the following spring. He batted .319 with 14 HR, 55 RBI and 16 SB in 65 games with the Appleton Foxes before being promoted to Double-A.
A-Rod is the 29th player to join the 3,000 hit club, and only the third former Midwest Leaguer to do so. Paul Molitor (3,319 hits) and Rafael Palmeiro (3,020 hits) are the others. Molitor — currently the manager of the Minnesota Twins — is the only player to triple for his 3,000th hit.
Molitor batted .346 with 8 HR, 50 RBI and 14 SB in 64 games with the 1977 Burlington Bees. Molitor was the Midwest League MVP and Prospect of the Year, and the Bees won the MWL championship that year.
That was Molitor’s only season in the minor leagues, though he made two brief rehab stints later in his career. One of those rehab stints was a single-game appearance with the 1990 Beloit Brewers, for whom he went 2-for-4 with a solo homer.
Palmeiro batted .297 with 5 HR and 51 RBI in 73 games with the 1985 Peoria Chiefs. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Greg Maddux also was a member of that Chiefs team.