Pete Rose is the all-time MLB hits leader with 4,256 hits
In Major League Baseball (MLB), the 3,000 hit club is the group of batters who have collected 3,000 or more regular-season hits in their careers. Cap Anson was the first to join the club on July 18, 1897, although his precise career hit total is unclear.[a] Two players—Nap Lajoie and Honus Wagner—reached 3,000 hits during the 1914 season. Ty Cobb became the club's fourth member in 1921 and became the first player in MLB history to reach 4,000 hits in 1927, ultimately finishing his career with more than 4,100.[b] Cobb, also MLB's all-time career batting average leader, remained the MLB hit leader until September 11, 1985, when Pete Rose collected his 4,192nd hit. Rose, the current record holder, finished his career with 4,256 hits, an achievement that on its own would have qualified him for the Hall of Fame had Major League Baseball not banned him for life due to Rose's having gambled on games as a manager. Roberto Clemente's career ended with precisely 3,000 hits, reaching the mark in the last at bat of his career.[c]Alex Rodriguez is the most recent player to reach the milestone, achieving the feat on June 19, 2015.
In total, 29 players have reached the 3,000 hit mark in MLB history. Of these, 15 were right-handed batters, 12 were left-handed, and two were switch hitters, meaning they could bat from either side of the plate. Ten of these players have played for only one major league team. The Cleveland Indians are the only franchise to see three players reach the milestone while on their roster: Lajoie (while the franchise was known as the "Naps"), Tris Speaker, and Eddie Murray. Five players—Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Murray, Rafael Palmeiro, and Rodriguez—are also members of the 500 home run club. At .367, Cobb holds the highest career batting average among club members, while Cal Ripken, Jr. holds the lowest at .276. Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, and Wade Boggs are the only players to hit a home run for their 3,000th hit and Paul Molitor is the only player to hit a triple for his 3,000th; all others hit a single or double. Craig Biggio was thrown out at second base attempting to stretch his 3,000th hit, a single, into a double. Biggio and Jeter are the only players to join the club in a game where they had five hits; Jeter reached base safely in all of his at bats.
Baseball writer Josh Pahigian wrote that the club has been "long considered the greatest measure of superior bat handling." Reaching 3,000 hits is often described as a guarantee of eventual entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame. All eligible club members, with the exception of Palmeiro, have been elected to the Hall, and since 1962 all club members who have been inducted were elected on the first ballot, except for Biggio. Rose was declared permanently ineligible for the Hall of Fame when he was banned from baseball. Palmeiro failed to reach the threshold for further Hall of Fame consideration by the BBWAA in 2014.
^ abcTwo major factors have confused Anson's precise hit total. First, a rule which existed for only the 1887 MLB season counted walks as hits. Additionally, Anson played five seasons in the National Association (NA), which is not always recognized as an official "major league".MLB.com credits Anson with 3,011 career hits, not including his time in the NA or his walks in 1887.Baseball-Reference credits him with 3,435 hits, including his time in the NA, not including his walks in 1887, and differing with MLB.com over his hit total in 1894. The Hall of Fame shows 3,081 hits for Anson, including his walks in 1887 (for a total of 224 hits that season) but not including NA playing time. The date listed comes from MLB.com, using their hit totals for Anson.