The Houston Astros deservedly claimed the 2017 World Series on Wednesday. No one deserved it more than former Kansas City Royals outfielder Carlos Beltran.
It’s been quite some time since Carlos Beltran pulled on a uniform of the Kansas City Royals. But for those who watched him play for the Boys in Blue, Wednesday night was a special moment.
Whether you wanted the Astros or Dodgers to win the series, one of the most memorable moments of the night — and there were plenty — came from Beltran. In the postgame celebration, cameras caught the 20-year veteran with a face covered in tears of joy. An accomplishment that seemed like it would never come for the future Hall-of-Famer had finally arrived.
He couldn’t hold back his emotions, and we can’t blame him.
In some ways winning the World Series for Beltran is more of a lifetime achievement award. He wasn’t a key member of the batting order or even a member of the batting order during much of the Fall Classic. The 40-year-old had just three at-bats in the series.
But his presence in the clubhouse helped a young Houston team come of age. Beltran’s veteran leadership, along with Justin Verlander‘s when he arrived, made sure the moment didn’t get too big for the inexperienced group.
Cherry on Top
With or without a World Series ring, Beltran would still go down as one of the best Kansas City Royals draft picks of all time. The Puerto Rican native became a second-round pick for the Royals in June 1995 — when Carlos Correa wasn’t even a year old.
Beltran easily won Rookie of the Year in 1999. It was just the beginning of the long list of individual honors he would rack up during his career. He earned nine All-Star Game appearances, three Gold Gloves and two Silver Slugger awards. Through the end of the 2017 regular season, Beltran has played 2,586 games. The World Series victory pulls him out of an unlucky group.
End of the Line?
Now that Beltran has the world championship he’s long coveted, there’s a good chance he retires this offseason. Should Wednesday night prove to be his final game as a major leaguer, Beltran will finish with some incredible stats. He has 435 home runs, 565 doubles, 312 stolen bases, 1,587 RBI and 1,582 runs. Those numbers work out to an average of 27, 35, 20, 99 and 99 per season. That speaks to his longevity and his incredible early portion of his career.
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Outside of his 2000 season, when he played just 98 games, Beltran put together a truly sensational Kansas City Royals career. One of the best outfielders in franchise history, Beltran’s five-tool ability made him a shining star. It also made him a hot commodity. But it’s the aforementioned leadership and his baseball acumen that extended his career for two decades.
Should he wind up in Cooperstown, Beltran will likely go in as a New York Met. He spent essentially six-and-a-half seasons apiece with the Mets and Royals during his career. His stats with both franchises line up pretty well with almost exactly the same number of official at-bats for each team (3,134 for Kansas City and 3,133 for New York). Beltran showed more speed with the Royals, while he put up better power number with the Mets.
However, the deciding factor could be the individual and team success Beltran experienced in Flushing. While with the Mets, Beltran made five All-Star teams and earned all of his Gold Gloves and Silver Slugger awards. Meanwhile, New York reached the 2006 NLCS versus no postseason appearances with Kansas City.
Regardless, Beltran deserves congratulations for helping Houston win the World Series. And, who knows, maybe he’ll be a coach in the Kansas City Royals system at some point.