Sept. 9, 1992: Yount records 3,000th hit
By Thomas Lawrence
Seventeen years ago today — Sept. 9, 1992 — Robin Yount joined one of baseball’s most exclusive fraternities: The 3,000-hit club.
But for Yount, the milestone proved to be a rarity within a rarity.
Yount, the longtime Milwaukee Brewer, was on the verge of his 3,000th career hit in a game against José Mesa and the Cleveland Indians. Mesa thwarted Yount in his first three at-bats – forcing a groundout in the first and striking him out in consecutive innings in the third and fourth.
But when Yount stepped up to the plate against Mesa in the bottom of the seventh inning at Milwaukee County Stadium, the hard-driving Brewers outfielder would not be denied.
Utilizing his renowned baserunning intensity, Yount managed an infield single against Mesa – making him the 17th player to join the 3,000-hit club. He became only the second player at the time to notch his 3,000th hit on an infield single. The first was Cardinals great and Hall of Famer Lou Brock against Dennis Lamp and the Cubs on Aug.13, 1979.
Ironically, twenty-one days after Yount reached No. 3,000, George Brett did the same. Seven years later, Brett and Yount were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 1999.
Yount is still the only player to reach 3,000 hits in a Brewers uniform, as Paul Molitor – the other notable Brewer in the club – did so when he was with the Twins. In fact, Yount is only one of eight players in the history of the game to grind out all 3,000 hits with a single team; all eight are Hall of Famers.
Molitor, a teammate of Yount’s on the Brew Crew for 15 seasons, was mentored by Yount when he broke into the big leagues in 1978.
“In retrospect, I can say playing with him (Yount) for 15 years was one of the best things that was part of my experience of being a Brewer,” said Molitor, who joined the 3,000 hit-club on Sept. 16, 1996.
Besides his legendary career totals, Yount is best remembered for his 1982 season – one when he led the Brewers to a 95-67 record and their first American League pennant.
Yount exploded onto the national scene that season, leading the major leagues in hits (210), doubles (46), slugging percentage (.578) and total bases (367). For his efforts, Yount took home the American League MVP award, a Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove at shortstop.
He earned his second MVP award with the 1989 Milwaukee club when he hit .318 as the Brewers’ center fielder – making him only the third player to win MVPs at two separate positions.
Yount retired after the 1993 season with 3,142 hits and 583 doubles – which both rank 17th-best all-time.
In 1999, he became just the 34th player to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on his first time on the ballot.
“I gave it everything I had every time I went out there,” Yount said. “That’s what I’m most proud of.”
Thomas Lawrence was the 2009 publications intern at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.