Rays pitcher Bobby Witt is kind of like the Forrest Gump of baseball _ he keeps showing up where history is happening. Throughout his 14-year career, Witt has seen some amazing feats.
He was with Texas when Nolan Ryan recorded his 5,000th strikeout, won his 300th game and threw his sixth and seventh no-hitters. "All of that stuff with Nolan was awesome," Witt said.
He also was on hand for Dave Winfield's 3,000th hit, Don Sutton's 300th victory, Ramon Martinez's no-hitter, and even Dale Mohorcic's record of pitching in 13 consecutive games.
And then there was last season, when Witt was traded to St. Louis at midseason and saw Mark McGwire complete his record homer run to 70. "That stuff was unbelievable," Witt said. "Just to watch it, and watch him."
The latest addition to Witt's list was Wade Boggs' 3,000th hit, a game in which Witt was the starting pitcher. Witt has a number of signed bats, balls and even one of McGwire's shoes as souvenirs from the events but says he most treasures the memories. "I'm pretty fortunate to be part of these things and see history like that," Witt said. "It's really incredible."
Being around all those milestones has Witt, 35, thinking about one of his own: "I'd like to play in three decades."
Boggs is expected to donate his shoes, hat, batting gloves, and jersey from his 3,000-hit night to the Hall of Fame during the Aug. 22 tribute. Boggs has some bats and other miscellaneous items on display in Cooperstown from other accomplishments, but says this will be different because those are scattered throughout the year-by-year displays. "They've got a wing called the 3,000-hit club," Boggs said, "and I get to move into that wing. It's kind like moving into the west wing of the White House."
It didn't take Mickey Callaway long to get packed when he was sent back to Durham last week. "I've been living out of two suitcases all year," Callaway said. "No problem." Like a number of the Rays' Triple-A players, Callaway "lived" at an extended stay motel in Durham when the Bulls were home, then checked out and packed all of his stuff in his car when the team was on the road. "I've been living in hotels since March," Callaway said.
Obviously it was a surprise that Boggs' 3,000th hit was a home run; only 117 of his previous 2,999 hits left the ballpark, less than 4 percent. While power is not among the initiation requirements to join the 3,000-hit club, Boggs ranks in the bottom third in terms of homers, and several of those below him played before the 1930s. Here's a look, from most to least:
Player Hits HRs
Hank Aaron 3,771 755
Willie Mays 3,283 660
Eddie Murray 3,255 504
Stan Musial 3,630 475
Dave Winfield 3,110 465
Carl Yastrzemski 3,419 452
Al Kaline 3,007 399
George Brett 3,154 317
Robin Yount 3,142 251
R. Clemente 3,000 240
Player Hits HRs
Paul Molitor 3,319 239
Pete Rose 4,256 160
Lou Brock 3,023 149
Tony Gwynn 3,008 128
WADE BOGGS 3,003 118
Ty Cobb 4,191 117
Tris Speaker 3,515 117
Paul Waner 3,152 113
Honus Wagner 3,430 101
Rod Carew 3,053 92
Nap Lajoie 3,252 82
Eddie Collins 3,309 47
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
Fox sports-talker Jim Rome, continuing a weeklong diatribe against Boggs: "Clearly now you see why I was pulling so hard for Tony Gwynn to get to 3,000 first. Yeah, Wade Boggs isn't selfish, but his father is criticizing a manager (Joe Torre) who chose chasing a championship over helping his son plant his flag in the mountain before Tony Gwynn. Guess I was right all along."
Player Injury Exp. return
Jose Canseco, DH back surgery late August
Rick Gorecki, RHP shoulder Uncertain
Cory Lidle, RHP elbow Uncertain
Quinton McCracken, OF knee 2000
Jim Mecir, RHP elbow 2000
Herb Perry, INF muscle strain September
Tony Saunders, LHP broken arm 2000
Kevin Stocker, SS sore knee late August
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"The last thing Larry said was, "Have fun with it.' That's the last thing running through your mind is trying to have fun when you've got major-league hitters walking up to the plate."
_ WADE BOGGS, on his Tuesday night relief appearance
BY THE NUMBERS
3: Games in which the Rays have given up 20 or more hits.
19: Games in which the Rays have given up 10 or more runs.
24: Teams with higher average home attendance than the Rays.
_ MARC TOPKIN