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Mike Trout isn’t the fastest to 1,000 hits, but it’s still a historic feat

Mike Trout wasn’t the fastest or youngest to 1,000 hits. But he was faster and younger than almost everyone ever.

Baltimore Orioles v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Mike Trout notched his 1,000th (and 1,001st) career hits on Monday, which also happened to be his 26th birthday. You never know where a baseball player is going to take his career in this rude-as-hell sport that crushes dreams and the people who dare to have them. But racking up his first 1,000 hits before he hit 30 years old is a great use of the time Trout has been given.

He’s not the fastest to 1,000 hits, nor is he the youngest to accomplish the feat. But that’s just fine. Trout doesn’t have to be the absolute best at every single thing: He puts himself in the conversation for enough things that his candidacy to eventually be the best ever remains.

Again, baseball is rude as hell, crushed dreams, etc., but you can see the path laid out before him, and if he manages to avoid the traps and pitfalls and wild, hungry bears, maybe we’ll have something to talk about on this topic 10 or 15 years from now.

Before we stray off the path ourselves, let’s get back to that 1,000th hit. Trout turned 26 Monday, but his seasonal age is 25 — and the list of players who collected their 1,000th career hit during their age-25 season is an impressive one:

Players with 1,000 hits by age-25 season

Rank Player H From To Age G
Rank Player H From To Age G
1 Ty Cobb 1433 1905 1912 18-25 1021
2 Mel Ott 1249 1926 1934 17-25 1136
3 Al Kaline 1200 1953 1960 18-25 1051
4 Freddie Lindstrom 1186 1924 1931 18-25 944
5 Vada Pinson 1177 1958 1964 19-25 962
6 Alex Rodriguez 1167 1994 2001 18-25 952
7 Robin Yount 1153 1974 1981 18-25 1084
8 Hank Aaron 1137 1954 1959 20-25 886
9 Jimmie Foxx 1127 1925 1933 17-25 959
10 Buddy Lewis 1112 1935 1941 18-24 895
11 Orlando Cepeda 1105 1958 1963 20-25 920
12 Joe Medwick 1101 1932 1937 20-25 788
13 Cesar Cedeno 1097 1970 1976 19-25 970
14 Mickey Mantle 1080 1951 1957 19-25 952
15 Rogers Hornsby 1073 1915 1921 19-25 858
16 Sherry Magee 1062 1904 1910 19-25 984
17 Edgar Renteria 1061 1996 2002 19-25 990
18 Arky Vaughan 1057 1932 1937 20-25 849
19 Roberto Alomar 1054 1988 1993 20-25 914
20 Ken Griffey 1039 1989 1995 19-25 917
21 Miguel Cabrera 1022 2003 2008 20-25 880
22 Stuffy McInnis 1020 1909 1916 18-25 892
23 Mike Trout 1001 2011 2017 19-25 879
Baseball-Reference

From 1901 through Monday, just 23 players have managed to reach 1,000 career hits during their age-25 campaign. Maybe 23 doesn’t sound incredible because it’s not a single-digit number of a list of one. But 10,707 non-pitchers are listed in Baseball-Reference’s database as having picked up a bat between 1901 and now. Trout is one of just 23 of those to reach 1,000 hits before their age-25 season ends. Just 0.21 percent of players have done what he’s managed. That’s as good as any single-digit rank.

Or let’s look at this another way.

Trout picked up 1,000 hits while he was, in baseball years, 25 years old. Since 1913, MLB has seen 1,449 non-pitchers make their debut on or after their 26th birthday, out of 9,815 non-pitchers who took the field in that stretch, total. Trout reached 1,001 hits before 15 percent of all baseball players of the last 104 years who had even gotten started on their own careers.

Look, too, at what the players who have done this during the more modern era of MLB have gone on to do in their careers. Miguel Cabrera is just 34, but he’d be a Hall of Famer if he retired today given his 15 years of dominance. Alex Rodriguez might irk you, but he’s also an inner-circle talent who stuck around for 22 years and finished just shy of being only the fourth player ever with at least 700 homers. Ken Griffey Jr., Roberto Alomar, and Robin Yount are all Hall of Famers.

Edgar Renteria is the only oddity in this time frame, but he also started when he was 19 and reached 1,000 hits about the same time he was any good — no one was confusing him for the rest of this bunch even as he neared 1,000 hits.

This is probably also a good time to point out that while Trout’s achievement has been more of a rarity in modern baseball — the ‘50s alone had five guys debut who would manage 1,000 hits before their age-25 season ended — Bryce Harper is right there nearing the same threshold. Given Harper’s missed time in 2014 and a down 2016, he’ll be hard-pressed to get there, as he sits at 779 hits. A strong finish to 2017, though, and a 2018 a lot like it, and we might be looking at 24 players on this exclusive list.

Hey, it wouldn’t be the first time Harper has matched a Trout feat.