Adrian Beltre’s Hall of Fame election should have Red Sox kicking themselves

Texas Rangers v Boston Red Sox
Texas Rangers v Boston Red Sox / Jim Rogash/GettyImages

Thirteen years into his MLB career, Adrian Beltré needed a change of scenery.

After spending years on the West Coast in Los Angeles and Seattle, Beltré was at a bit of a crossroads. He had a standout year with the Dodgers in 2004, logging 200 hits, a league-leading 48 home runs, 121 RBI and a .334 batting average.

The following season, the Mariners signed Beltré as a free agent, and he spent five seasons in Seattle, where he never performed as well as he did in 2004. He was a good, everyday player, but he never broke through as an All-Star.

In 2010, his age-31 season, Beltré signed with the Red Sox, and everything changed.

Just six years after breaking The Curse, Boston was a destination for players to prove themselves in a competitive division in front of fans with high expectations. Beltré smashed them.

From belting homers on one knee — a Beltré special — to snagging rockets at the hot corner, Beltré experience a revival. And Red Sox fans relished his power and commitment.

Boston's manager at the time, Terry Francona, offered some good-natured comments about Beltré's drive.

“Want to piss him off? Tell him he’s not playing,” Francona said.

Boston sports fans crave that level of dedication from players on their favorite teams. And Beltré was a favorite because he combined his style of play with a unique ethos.

Adrian Beltré could've been a Red Sox for life (and Red Sox Hall of Famer)

Beltré was a good player before he signed with the Sox, but when he found himself at Fenway Park, the 31-year-old batted .321. He slammed a league-leading, career-high 49 doubles off the Green Monster. He hit 28 home runs and 102 RBI to earn himself his first-ever Silver Slugger and All-Star nod. He went on to make the All-Star game three more times. He also finished ninth in MVP voting during that 2010 season.

When that year ended, Beltré's time in Boston did too. The front office couldn't secure his signature for future seasons at Fenway, and he moved on to Texas, where he played the rest of his Hall of Fame career. Beltré earned MVP votes each year from 2011 to 2016. He won three more Gold Gloves, to go along with the two he collected in Seattle, and earned two more Silver Sluggers.

Beltré's Hall of Fame career began in Boston. He could've been with the Red Sox for the rest of his career, but it wasn't meant to be. Or the Sox, once again, did their best to take themselves out of the bidding.

Either way, his lone campaign in Boston began his star-level stretch that solidified his place in the Hall. Sadly, his years in Texas will always overshadow that, but Red Sox fans will always remember. And this should serve as another reminder to ownership that securing talented, driven players will always outweigh the alternative they have in mind.

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