Angels slugger Albert Pujols is so yesterday, along with 3,000 hits

Terence Moore

Suddenly, the most overrated of the greatest accomplishments in sports is the one that has become worthy of a shrug.

So what did Albert Pujols just do again?

Pujols spent last Friday night joining the growing list of folks in recent years -- Adrian Beltre, Ichiro Suzuki, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Kanye West, The Muppets, your second cousin's fourth-grade teacher -- to reach 3,000 hits for his career. I guess that's impressive. They've played modern baseball in the National and American leagues since the turn of the 20th century, and Pujols joined 31 others in history with that many hits.

It's just that this is the fourth consecutive season and the fifth in eight years that somebody has done such a thing.

I remember listening on the radio that May day in 1970 when Hank Aaron ripped his 3,000th hit in Cincinnati against my Big Red Machine. It was a huge deal. Nobody had done as much since Stan Musial reached that plateau . . . TWELVE YEARS BEFORE THAT in May 1958. Musial even traveled to old Crosley Field back then in anticipation of Aaron's milestone, and Stan The Man presented the ball of that 3,000th hit to Hammerin' Hank.

How cool was that?

The same goes for this: Two months after Aaron's 3,000th hit, Willie Mays reached the same mark as the most dynamic player of that era not named Henry Louis Aaron, but let's jump ahead to the 1980s. Rod Carew dropped a single into left field in Anaheim for his Angels in August 1985, and by doing so, he became the only person to reach 3,000 hits IN THAT DECADE.

You get the picture. This whole 3,000 thing has become a ho-hum affair, and then you've got the Pujols factor.

During Pujols' first 11 years in the Major Leagues with the St. Louis Cardinals, he made nine All-Star Game trips, won three National League Most Valuable Player awards and had at least one leg in the Baseball Hall of Fame. In his six seasons with the Angels, he has made just one All-Star Game appearance, and he has done nothing else worth mentioning.

Mores specifically, the man who reached 1,900 career hits faster than just about anybody when he signed with the Angels needed all of that time since then to hit 3,000.

Here's encouraging news for those who believe in the sanctity of the 3,000-hit club. The next closest person to that mark is Miquel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers, and at 35, with various aches and pains down the stretch of his career, he's more than 300 hits and a couple of years away.

At least.