Adrian Beltre got his 3,000th hit right at the end of July, making him the first Dominican-born player to reach that threshold. This got us at SB Nation thinking about various hit leader lists, and eventually, we ended up wondering about which states had the most impressive baseball hitters born there, as measured by hits.
So, with help from Brittany Cheng and her map-making skills, we have a map of the United States for you, one that shows the MLB player with the most hits born in each of the 50 states, as well as the District of Colombia.
And now, for random notes scrawled while looking through the lists of players born in every state in order to produce the map above.
This is another way of saying that if you’re just here for the map, well, there you are. It’s right there, above these small paragraphs. Personally, I prefer this version of the map and the small tweak contained within...
...but I was outvoted due to the fact it technically isn’t true. Anyway.
The Aforementioned Random Notes
- Josh Phelps, with 380, has 44 percent of all Alaskan hits in MLB history.
- Seven of Alabama’s top-eight hit leaders are in the Hall of Fame. The other one is Juan Pierre.
- California could have been more hotly contested if not for Ted Williams missing three seasons for World War II and most of 1952-1953 to the Korean War. Also, California has produced 2,209 players who have grabbed a bat in MLB.
- Watch out, Delino DeShields, Paul Goldschmidt is coming for you.
- If Chipper Jones (2,726) had hung on a little longer or had a couple fewer injuries in his career, he might have led Florida.
- Kurt Suzuki (1,113) could pass Shane Victorino in Hawaii, but Kolten Wong (392 hits since 2013) has a shot at leading the state by the time he’s done.
- Cap Anson is also notable for being the player most closely associated with the creation of the color line in baseball, so if someone else from Iowa maybe born in this century could string together 3,500 hits that’d be nice
- Almost the entire top-10 for Massachusetts is players from early last century or even before then, but recent Hall of Fame inductee Jeff Bagwell ranks fifth — without a single one for the hometown team that drafted him.
- Ryan Flaherty, who debuted in 2012, is the most recent player from Maine to make it to the majors. Why does that matter? Because 69 of the 77 players from Maine debuted in MLB before Flaherty was even born.
- Each of the top-five from Minnesota spent time playing for the Twins: Molitor, Dave Winfield, Joe Mauer, Kent Krbek, and Terry Steinbach.
- Brian Dozier is the active leader from Mississippi with 766, but he reached the majors too late to do anything about Parker’s lead.
- It took John Lowenstein 16 seasons to accumulate the 881 hits that lead Montana.
- If Mark Grace had Luke Appling’s longevity, he’d likely be North Carolina’s hit leader, but longevity itself is a skill, and the one with it is in the Hall of Fame.
- North Dakota, as a state, has 3,784 hits, or 13 more than Hank Aaron had by himself. Darin Erstad and Travis Hafner combined for 2,804 of those.
- The pride of Nebraska, Rays’ great Wade Boggs
- New Hampshire is known much more for its pitchers (Chris Carpenter, Brian Wilson, Bob Tewksbury) than its hitters (hi, Sam Fuld).
- So, uh, who will come closer to Jeter for New Jersey, Jason Heyward (1,002) or Mike Trout (1,001)?
- Marty Cordova is just keeping Nevada’s seat warm for one of Bryce Harper or Kris Bryant, who will battle this out for the next decade-plus if we’re lucky. Harper has a head start, and also, he’s somehow younger than Bryant.
- New York has 25 players with at least 2,000 hits after Nick Markakis managed the feat in early August. Jimmy Collins would have been 25, but he was done after 1,999 hits.
- Paul Waner’s younger brother, Lloyd, was not only a contemporary, but also has the second-most hits among Oklahomans. How much do you think always coming in second to his older brother bothered him?
- Former NBA player and current NBA executive Danny Ainge ranks 35th among Oregon-born hitters.
- Pennsylvania’s top-five: Stan Musial, Honus Wagner, Ken Griffey Jr., Nellie Fox, and Reggie Jackson — all Hall of Famers.
- Nap Lajoie first in Rhode Island isn’t a surprise if you know where he’s from, but Paul Konerko being second (2,340) probably is.
- Was Jim Rice ever the most feared hitter in South Carolina?
- As a reminder of just how difficult 3,000 career hits is, Tennessee’s number three Todd Helton fell 481 short despite playing all of his career home games at Coors Field.
- If Chris Shelton had been the Chris Shelton everyone now tells cautious tales about for just a little while longer, he might have ended up being at the top of Utah’s list.
- Justin Upton will probably end up leading Virginia when his career is over, given he hasn’t turned 30 yet and already has over 1,400 hits.
- You probably thought you’d be able to make fun of little ole Vermont for their hits leader, but Carlton Fisk was born there and preempted your joke by decades.
- The top two from Washington are a pair of Hall of Famers best known for their time with the Cubs: Ryne Sandberg and Ron Santo.