Every season, players all across Major League Baseball reach career milestones, and 2011 will be no different. Derek Jeter should reach 3,000 career hits this year, Jim Thome is 11 homers away from 600, and Mariano Rivera is chasing Trevor Hoffman’s career saves record of 601. There will also be other players reaching 300 home runs, 2,000 hits, and various other milestones. Three players, Thome, Tim Wakefield, and Ivan Rodriguez are closing in on career milestones that are actually bad things for their teams.
Jim Thome Chases 600 Home Runs and 2,500 Strikeouts
Minnesota designated hitter, Jim Thome, is only 11 home runs away from becoming the 8th member of the 600 home run club, but he could be joining an even more exclusive club as well. Thome is 105 strikeouts away from joining Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson at 2,500 career strikeouts. Thome enters the 2011 season second on the career list in strikeouts with 2,395. I don’t think Thome will strikeout enough this season to catch Jackson at 2,597, but I do expect him to get to 2,500 by the end of the season. Thome has eclipsed the 100 strikeout plateau in 14 of his big league seasons and led the league in strikeouts three times.
Future Hall of Famer, Ivan Rodriguez, Closes in on Double Play Record
Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez is one of the best catchers to ever play the game and should one day be enshrined in Cooperstown. Rodriguez is on the verge of breaking a career record this season that is currently held by Cal Ripken Jr., but something tells me Ripken will be happy when it happens. Pudge enters the 2011 season second on the career list for double plays hit into behind Ripken. Ripken hit into 350 double plays in his storied career, and if Rodriguez hits into 20 this year he will be the all time leader. Pudge is already in great company on the career double play list. The top five on the career double play list are, Ripken, Rodriguez, Hank Aaron, Carl Yastrzemski, and Dave Winfield. All but Rodriguez currently have a plaque in the Hall of Fame, and I expect Rodriguez will join them five years after he retires.
Tim Wakefield Could Join 400 Homer Club
There are currently 47 players that have hit more than 400 home runs in their careers, but there are only 11 pitchers that have given up 400 homers. Tim Wakefield heads into the 2011 season with 393 home runs allowed in his career. The long time Red Sox knuckleballer will join elite company when he give up number 400. Of the 11 players currently in the 400 home run allowed club, five of them have also won 300 games. The fewest number of wins by a pitcher to give up 400 home runs is 239 by David Wells. Wakefield currently sits at 193 wins in his career and it is more than likely that he gives up 7 home runs before he picks up 7 more wins. Wakefield is also at 2,989 hits allowed in his career, so he should reach 3,000 hits allowed this season as well.
Thome, Pudge, and Wakefield should all reach these milestones this year but in no way will it diminish what they have done throughout their careers. Jim Thome and Ivan Rodriguez should both be in Cooperstown when all is said and done, and Tim Wakefield has been a valuable member of the Boston Red Sox for 15 years.