ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Much of what Adrian Beltre now hears about his Hall of Fame-caliber career comes from his son, a baseball fanatic who grew up in the Texas Rangers clubhouse during his father’s last eight big league seasons.
“When AJ (Adrian Jr.) sees stuff like that, I can see in his face that he’s proud, which just makes me emotional,” Beltre said. “And I always try to be humble with him and kind of teach how to be, you know, hungry for what you want, but stay humble.”
The four-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove-winning third baseman, who retired in 2018 after 21 big league seasons, will be inducted into the Texas Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame on Saturday night. He went to his only World Series in 2011, his first season in Texas, and joined MLB’s 3,000-hit club in a Rangers home game in 2017 at their old stadium across the street.
Beltre and Chuck Morgan, in his 38th season as the public address announcer for the Rangers spanning three different stadiums, will be the 23rd and 24th inductees in the team’s Hall of Fame since the first class in 2003.
The Rangers retired Beltre’s No. 29 jersey two years ago, in their last season at Globe Life Park before moving last season into the new Globe Life Field with a retractable roof. His first time on the ballot for the National Baseball Hall of Fame will be for the Class of 2024.
Beltre expects AJ, who was 4 when his father signed with Texas and turns 15 next month, to enjoy the moment the most of anyone in his family. But his wife Sandra and their two daughters (ages 17 and 10) were also excited about the latest celebration of his time in Texas.
“It means a lot to them,” said Beltre, who planned to speak from the heart instead of having a prepared speech for the ceremony before a game against Oakland.
The 42-year-old Beltre’s time is now centered around his family and home life in California, where he began his big league career at age 19 in Los Angeles, playing 6 1/2 seasons with the Dodgers, then five years in Seattle and one in Boston before signing with Texas in free agency.
AJ had his own locker in the Rangers clubhouse, and spent many hours in the outfield hitting balls thrown by his father or taking grounders — they were doing just that in the empty stadium on the morning of his final home game with the Rangers on Sept. 23, 2018. Now Beltre is a fulltime baseball dad, and still figuring out how much instructive detail to share with AJ at certain times.
“I’ve always pitched to him, but I always wanted him to get his own identity because he learns a lot, he watches a lot. … Until maybe two years ago, was the first time I tried to tweak his swing and kind of give him more information,” Beltre said. “I’m learning how to, being a coach, giving information to fix stuff that he needs to fix, and being a dad supportive, of not being too hard on him because he’s hard enough on himself.”
Beltre had 3,166 career hits (17th in baseball history) while hitting .286 with 477 home runs. His 2,759 games at third base are second only to Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson.
Morgan debuted as the Rangers PA man in the 1983 season opener at old Arlington Stadium, and hasn’t missed a game since — though he spent the 2002 season with the Kansas City Royals. He will work his 3,059th consecutive regular-season game right after the pregame ceremony.
The microphone from his 3,000th consecutive game last September was sent to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Now Morgan describes it as a big “Oh, Wow!” to go into the Rangers hall with a player expected to be in Cooperstown.
“To me, he’s everything that baseball is all about. A great player, great hitter, great fielder, had a good time when he was playing,” Morgan said.
When catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez was inducted into Cooperstown in 2017, Morgan bypassed that trip. He instead was in the booth for a Rangers home game — the day Beltre got his 3,000th career hit.
“I had told everybody that that was going to happen on the day that Pudge was going into the Hall of Fame, and I was going to stay behind and make sure that happened,” Morgan said. “ It was a great moment.”
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