Hoffman: Adrian Beltre was the all-time great you failed to notice

From Benjamin Hoffman at the New York Times on November 20, 2018, with SABR members Jay Jaffe, Mark Simon, and Tyler Kepner:

Adrian Beltre does not like to have his head touched.

That’s an odd thing to focus on when considering Beltre, who announced his retirement on Tuesday and will almost assuredly be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but watch one of the many videos of his reaction to even the slightest contact and you’ll understand.

Once you get past that quirk to end all quirks and really dig into Beltre’s 21-year career, you will find that one of the greatest third baseman to ever walk the planet was hiding in plain sight all along.

With Beltre, you have the big traditional numbers: 3,166 hits, 477 home runs, 1,707 runs batted in. You have the awards: five Gold Gloves, four Silver Sluggers, four top-10 Most Valuable Player Award finishes. And you even have an outrageous advanced statistic: 95.7 career wins above replacement, which trailed only Albert Pujols among active players before Tuesday’s announcement.

Read the full article here: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/20/sports/adrian-beltre-retired.html

Originally published: November 21, 2018. Last Updated: November 21, 2018.