Baseball is a sport obviously obsessed with records and milestones, and we all have our favorites. Mine is the 3,000-hit club. Just the notion of a club makes it more fun. It's not an all-encompassing metric of baseball greatness (Babe Ruth isn't in it, for crying out loud). But it is basic and lovely. The whole plot of the (generally underrated) baseball movie "Mr. 3000" -- a title that makes it sound like a Japanese robot movie -- is that a guy (Bernie Mac) would come out of retirement after losing three hits to a "clerical error" simply because his life would be incomplete without reaching that number. Baseball history loves its round numbers, and no baseball number is more round than 3,000.
It's an exclusive club: Hank Aaron's in it, but Barry Bonds isn't. Lou Brock's in it, but not Ken Griffey Jr. The most basic unit in baseball is a hit, and 28 people out of the 18,130 who have ever played baseball have racked up 3,000 of them.
Like everything else offense-related this year, hits are way down: Teams are averaging 8.4 hits a game, which is the lowest number since 1972. This is a compilation stat that is increasingly difficult to compile, so the 3,000-hit club is only becoming more exclusive.
There are 10 active Major League players who have 2,000 hits or more. (There are 278 members of the 2,000-hit club. No. 278 is Shawn Green, and No. 277 is Todd Zeile, if that gives you any perspective.) Some will reach 3,000; some will come close; some will be lucky to make it through this season. Let's take a look at all 11 and see if, or when, they'll reach the sainted "Mark of Bernie Mac."
A quick nod before we start to the following players who haven't reached 2,000 hits but could still make a run:
Carl Crawford (1,876 hits, age 33)
Robinson Cano (1,854 hits, age 32)
Jose Reyes (1,785 hits, age 31)
David Wright (1,713 hits, age 32)
10. David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox.
Big Papi only had 393 hits in six years in Minnesota, so it's sort of amazing he got this many at all. He may seem ageless, but he isn't: This is the only club in Boston for which Ortiz won't get an invitation.
Chance of reaching 3,000 hits: 4 percent.
9. Aramis Ramirez, Milwaukee Brewers
Ramirez has already said he's retiring after this season, and considering how much of a nightmare start the Brewers are having, and how much Ramirez (who's 8-for-51 with no homers) has contributed to that start … he might want to do it before this season actually ends. Still: An underrated, terrific career.
Chance: 0 percent
8. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
From 2004-14, Cabrera averaged 191 hits a season. Even if you allot for age and say he'll average, oh, 180 (the lowest number during that stretch) each year going forward -- and seeing how well he's hitting this season, that might be not giving him enough credit -- Cabrera would reach the mark roughly halfway through the 2019 season. Considering he's still signed for four years -- four years! -- after that, I'd say you have to like his chances. A lot.
Chance: 92 percent (Target year: 2019)
7. Jimmy Rollins, Los Angeles Dodgers
Last year, he got 131 hits, the lowest total in a full season of his career, and he's batting .200 out of the gate in his first season not wearing Phillies red. (Or whatever that color is.) Here's an amazing factoid: Rollins has never hit over .300 for a full season. (He only made it to .296 in his 2007 National League MVP Award-winning season.) You won't find anyone in the 3,000-hit club who never hit .300.
Chance: 2 percent
6. Carlos Beltran, New York Yankees
As usual, everything's tougher for Beltran in New York. He has been alternately hurt and disappointing (or both, of course) for the Yankees since they signed him, and some are arguing he should just be an expensive platoon player now. Beltran has already had a couple late-career resurgences, but he'll need two or three more to reach 3,000, I'm afraid.
Chance: 3 percent
5. Torii Hunter, Minnesota Twins
Hunter, unlike Rollins, finally did end up making it over .300 for a season, reaching the mark in 2012 (and again in '13). He's off to a mediocre .250 start this year, and some think this could end up being his final season. Even if it isn't, he's too far away to make a run.
Chance: 1 percent
4. Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Even as his bat slows and the Angels find him even more oppressively expensive -- nobody ask Arte Moreno what he thinks of Pujols' personal life in five years, please! -- he's still going to be piling up the milestones. Take away his injury-riddled 2013 and he has averaged almost exactly 173 hits a year for three seasons. Knock that down, say, 10 a year for age, and you're looking at Albert reaching 3,000 very soon.
Chance: 98 percent (2017)
3. Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers
Over the last few years, Beltre has (one would think) officially secured his status as a sure-fire Hall of Famer and probably one of the 10 best third basemen in baseball history. He has hit over .300 three seasons in a row and he actually led the Majors in hits (199) in 2013. He could be a free agent after this season if he doesn't reach 600 plate appearances, and he's off to one of the slowest starts of his career (.183/.246/.350). He's still Adrian Beltre, which means as long as he doesn't up and retire out of nowhere on us, he'll probably get to 3,000 before Pujols does.
Chance: 97 percent (2017)
2. Ichiro Suzuki, Miami Marlins
Well, he's certainly trying. One could argue that Ichiro, when you consider all his hits in Japan, has already flown far past the 3,000-hit mark, but we're using MLB rules here: He's still 148 short. Frankly, it's tough to see how he could get there. Ichiro hasn't hit over .300 since 2010, and he only eked out 102 last year for the Yankees in 143 games. He has eight this season. He might sneak to 100 this year and then find a part-time role, at 42, next year just to get the mark. We'll find out just how much Ichiro wants it, and if he's willing to hang on, struggling all the while, to get it.
Chance: 44 percent
1. Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees
Yep, this guy again! My favorite 2015 A-Rod stat: He leads the American League in walks! Bless his heart. A-Rod hasn't batted over .300 since 2008, and even in his prime he was known more for power than contact. (That said: He has had more than 200 hits in a season three times.) Regardless, he's only 48 away. He's got 13 so far this year, four of which have been homers. Can he get there by June 1, for a three-game series in Seattle?
Chance: 99 percent (June 2015)