Carlos Beltran smacked his 400th home run Sunday afternoon in the Bronx, the latest accomplishment in a career full of them.
It's a nice round number, one that might provide a slight bump when people judge Beltran's body of work in the future. At the same time, Beltran did not need to reach 400 homers to deserve a place in the Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible.
That might be hard to swallow for some fans, especially those who won't forgive Beltran for taking a called third strike on a nasty pitch in a high-leverage situation 10 years ago. But the numbers are clear.
Beltran's 68.4 wins above replacement (WAR) entering Monday night's game put him seventh all-time among center fielders, according to Baseball-Reference.com, behind six no-doubt Hall of Famers: Willie Mays, Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Mickey Mantle, Ken Griffey Jr. and Joe DiMaggio. Of the five players directly behind Beltran on that list, the only one not in Cooperstown is Kenny Lofton, who unjustly fell off the ballot after one year. JAWS, a stat that measures Hall worthiness, puts Beltran eighth among center fielders, close behind Duke Snider.
Not everyone trusts WAR, but in this case it's only reflecting and contextualizing the greatness of Beltran's all-around performance. He's a player who has achieved both longevity (19 seasons, more than 10,000 plate appearances) and peak performance, hit for power and average (.280 with nearly 2,500 hits), gotten on base (.354 OBP), been a "run producer" (nearly 1,500 RBIs), created havoc on the basepaths (311 steals) and played outstanding defense at a premium position (three Gold Gloves).
Setting aside the 400 homers and the WAR total, here are five stats that help show why Beltran has been a rare type of player -- and one who should have a plaque in Cooperstown someday. (All numbers entering Monday.)
1. Extra, extra: Beltran is one of 22 players with at least 500 career doubles to go along with 400-plus homers, and of the 15 men on that list who have been retired long enough to be eligible for the Hall, only Barry Bonds and Rafael Palmeiro haven't been inducted (for obvious reasons). Meanwhile, on that list of 22, Beltran's 78 triples rank eighth.
Put that all together, and you have 988 extra-base hits, good for 41st all-time, ahead of such Hall of Fame sluggers as Al Kaline, Mantle, Eddie Mathews, Willie McCovey and Willie Stargell. Barring a serious injury, Beltran should become the 38th player to get to 1,000 and just the fourth switch-hitter, after Eddie Murray (1,099), Chipper Jones (1,055) and Pete Rose (1,041). Rose and Murray both required far more playing time to climb to that point.
2. Slug and run: Beltran already was one of five players in history to have both 350 homers and 300 steals, so getting to 400 dingers is icing on the cake. The others joining him with that one-two punch: Bonds, Andre Dawson, Mays and Alex Rodriguez.
Baseball Reference also offers something called a "power-speed number," which uses a formula devised by Bill James that combines homers and steals. Beltran ranks ninth all time in that category.
3. Don't get caught: One way in which Beltran is underrated is that his raw number of stolen bases doesn't capture how he is perhaps the most efficient thief in baseball history. No, he is not and never has been Rickey Henderson, but for all his greatness, Henderson also got thrown out more than any player ever, leaving him with a still-stellar 80.8 percent success rate. Beltran has been successful on 86.4 percent of his 360 attempts, nearly 2 percentage points better than any other player with even 200 tries. Given the negative effect of being thrown out stealing, that's significant.
Because Beltran is 39 and hasn't swiped a single bag since 2014, it's easy to forget his brilliance as a runner during his mid-20s. Over a five-year span from 2000-04, Beltran went a mind-boggling 162-for-177 (91.5 percent) on steal attempts. To put that in perspective, when Dee Gordon led the Majors in steals in 2014 and '15, he was caught more times in both of those years than Beltran was from '00-04.
4. A special blend: Let's combine the attributes discussed in the first three items and find out how many players in history have reached 900 extra-base hits and 200 steals while achieving an 80-percent success rate or better. That would be two: A-Rod and Beltran.
Is that a somewhat arbitrary combination? Sure, but it also speaks to Beltran's unusual mixture of skills. That he has done all of that as a switch-hitter who is tied for 15th (since 1954) in Total Zone defensive runs in center field is even more impressive.
5. Postseason magic: Fans are allowed to carry grudges and be irrational, but any clear-eyed analysis shows that not only does Beltran's October career rise far above Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS, but he is one of the best postseason performers in history.
Beltran's run for the 2004 Astros was breathtaking: 12 games, a .435 average, a 1.557 OPS, eight home runs, 14 RBIs and six steals. In that memorable '06 NLCS against the Cardinals, he hit three homers and was second on the Mets with a 1.054 OPS. Does that sound like a player who cost his team the series? It took six years after that for Beltran to return to the postseason, but over 29 October games with St. Louis from 2012-13 he made up for lost time, posting a .982 OPS with 21 RBIs.
In total, Beltran has played roughly one-third of a regular season in the playoffs (52 games) and generated a .332/.441/.674 line with 16 homers, 30 extra-base hits, 40 RBIs and 11 steals in 11 attempts. That's Hall of Fame-level performance.
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Andrew Simon is a Sports on Earth contributor and a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.