Astros: So long to Carlos Beltran
By Cody Poage
The now-retired Carlos Beltran will forever be linked to the Astros in more ways than one.
I’m sure you have seen the news by now that Astros‘ designated hitter/part-time outfielder/part-time coach Carlos Beltran has decided to call it a playing career on Monday. After all, it is Wednesday morning. Yes, I am writing this rather late, but life happens.
This news isn’t surprising in the slightest when you consider that his last goal before retirement was a World Series ring. Well, he finally earned that ring with the Astros in 2017.
Beltran’s career is worth remembering in many ways. For one, the relationships that he forged throughout his long career. His own personal experiences in the game. Alas, I’m not qualified to write about that aspect of Beltran. If you’re curious though, check out what Beltran thinks in his own words at the Player Tribune. I highly recommend it.
Instead, I can give you numbers. Yes, just numbers. But these are numbers that reflect his greatness in the game itself. And numbers are much easier to convey than feelings or anecdotes.
In 20 major league seasons, Beltran posted a 69.8 WAR and an 119 OPS+. Only 100 players can claim a higher WAR than Beltran if you follow Baseball Reference’s leaderboards. And only fifteen players had a higher career total WAR (69.8), home runs (435), RBI (1,585) and hits (2,700) in all categories than Beltran. Most of those fifteen are currently in the Hall of Fame. Only three (Barry Bonds, Willie Mays and Alex Rodriguez) had more stolen bases than Beltran with 312. His 435 home runs for his career is the 46th most of all-time. Not many baseball players in this world can boast better numbers than that.
While Beltran does not sit atop many records alone, his name is littered throughout most leaderboards for a hitter. But his obvious greatness at baseball is personified through the numbers. That’s an accomplishment in of itself. You can’t say that about many players.
Before I forget, I must list more accomplishments. Beltran was also the 1999 AL Rookie of the Year. Three-time Gold Glove winner. Nine-time All-Star. And, most importantly, a 2017 World Series champion. His career, for all intents and purposes, was legendary. We all wish to be as successful in our respective as Beltran was in his field.
I would be remiss to not mention the infamous 2004 postseason.
Beltran is the all-time leader in runs scored during a single postseason with 21 back in 2004. Then he is in a three-way tie for the most home runs, eight total, in a single postseason. Again, 2004. This was the postseason that basically made Beltran a household name. It was also the postseason that probably drove up his price in the 2004 offseason. And he earned every penny.
Looking back, Beltran’s career as an Astro will be interesting to reflect upon. For example, the much-needed lift he gave the team upon his original arrival in 2004. His legendary performance in the 2004 postseason. Leaving Houston for Queens to play for the Mets the following offseason. The bungled negotiations (the team?) that left the Astros without their star centerfielder. Endless rounds of boos – unfairly – anytime he stepped foot in Minute Maid Park up until this year. Beltran’s mentorship to the young Astros like Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, George Springer, Alex Bregman and Marwin Gonzalez.
Next: Manager A.J. Hinch finished third for AL Manager of the Year
Beltran leaves behind quite a polarizing history in Houston. But it’s worth remembering. Fondly, I might add. And I can’t wait to hear it again when Beltran is eventually inducted into the Hall of Fame. That, however, is separate story for another day.
**Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference**