Previously posted on Facebook. I wanted to port it over here. It is slightly redacted at the end.
Everyone got a taste of Jose Altuve during the playoffs. What a joy. You are looking at Hall of Fame talent. If he stays healthy, his ticket to Cooperstown will be 3,000 hits. He came up as a 21 year old and played 50 games. He was a starter at 22. He has led the league in hits for four consecutive years, reaching 200+ hits each time. (845 hits). He also led the league in stolen bases twice and has won 3 batting titles. 5 Allstar appearances in 6 years, an MVP and another top 3.
He already has 10 occurrences of Black Ink. Black ink is a reference to a player leading the league in a category and it’s printed in bold, therefore giving a look of extra black ink,. Look at a players career numbers and you’ll see. The more black ink, the better the player. To give you an idea, here are four players and their black ink totals. David Wright (2 – both Sac flies.) Jose Altuve (10), George Brett (23), Stan Musial (73). This makes Musial a tier 1 HOFer, Brett a HOFer, Wright an Allstar and Altuve is on the road to Cooperstown.
But the Altuve story is more than the back of his player card. He comes from a small city in Venezuela. Puerto Cabello. He lives there in the off season. He spends time with local kids and adults alike, always closely connected to the community and the values he was raised on. His father taught him the game, spending hours with the young Jose, pitching to him and doing drills. But one statement his father made was telling. He basically said, I am trying to raise a good person, not a good baseball player. It talks about the emphasis on character and values and not success for successes sake. It reminds me of Derek Jeter. It was his family culture of treating others as you want to be treated and that not being lip service, but a very real and core element of Derek’s character. It’s what makes players rise above their talent to become legends and ambassadors of the game. Think Jeter and Cal Ripken. Jose Altuve has the stuff to be one of them. The talent and the character.
He is the leader of that talented offense. Correa, Gonzalez, Guriel and Springer. Young talented players with a man leading the way that is worth following. Watching them this season was a blast. The bonds between Altuve, Correa, Springer, Guriel, and Gonzalez and one that developed during the playoffs with the non latino, Alex Bregman, was so open an unabashed. There were times that homers were celebrated with loving foreheads pressed together instead of high fives. What they can accomplish, before free agency steals some away, is no small thing. With the addition of Verlander and Gerrit Cole along with Dallas Keuchel, it makes for another top notch pitching staff. Maybe even the best. We’ll see. A Yankee / Astro ALCS again next year would be awesome.