As Posted in the USA Today: Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez joined one of baseball’s most exclusive clubs on Friday when he smashed a homer at Yankee Stadium for his 3,000th hit. Rodriguez missed all of 2014 due to suspension over his role in the Biogenesis scandal, and so many have suggested and will continue to suggest that the 3,000-hit pantheon is somehow sullied by his inclusion.
But nothing A-Rod has done in the past should cheapen the accomplishment. Not only did all of his 3,000 hits contribute to his teams’ chances of winning ballgames, but he already endured the punishment deemed appropriate for his indiscretions by the arbitration process. He sat out a full year for cheating, and reached 3,000 hits in spite of it, not because of it.
Beyond that, there’s no way anyone with an understanding of the game’s history can really argue that A-Rod tarnished or disgraced the 3,000-hit club, because so many guys in the 3,000-hit club beat him to the punch. Ballplayers are human beings, after all, and a huge percentage of human beings are more or less terrible. And even those that generally seem like decent people — like a lot of guys on the following list — are constantly prone to mistakes and misbehaviors.
Here are some guys still ahead of A-Rod on the all-time hits list that corrupted one of baseball’s biggest benchmarks long before he did: