Crawford now in elite company

Crawford now in elite company

ST. PETERSBURG -- Carl Crawford collected his 1,000th career hit in the seventh inning of Friday night's Rays and Orioles contest at Tropicana Field.

Crawford reached the milestone with a Texas Leaguer into center field against Jamie Walker. Crawford received a standing ovation when the scoreboard noted the significance of the hit, which became part of a rally that led to the Rays tying the score at 5 before winning the game 10-5.

"It felt real good with the win," Crawford said. "It was nice to get the milestone, but that's why you didn't see me raise my helmet up. We were still losing the game, so it was good to get that done and get the win at the same time."

In reaching 1,000 hits, Crawford became the eighth player since 1900 to reach 1,000 hits and 250 steals before his 27th birthday (Aug. 5). That list includes Ty Cobb, Cesar Cedeno, Sherry Magee, Roberto Alomar, Eddie Collins, Tim Raines and Rickey Henderson.

"Yeah, any time you've got a chance to reach a milestone like that, it's pretty nice," Crawford said. "It's something that you'll always have and nobody can take away from you.

"It's nice to be able to do something like this early in my career. I've got a long way to go. Hopefully this is just the beginning of more to come."

Rays manager Joe Maddon saluted his left fielder.

Getting 1,000 hits is "awesome," Maddon said. "Just staying healthy, he's going to get a lot of those. It's very impressive."

Of Crawford's 1,000 hits, 74 are triples. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, of the 712 players who have reached the 1,000-hit mark over the last 60 years (1949-2008), only two had as many triples as Crawford when they reached the milestone: Gary Templeton (76) and Lance Johnson (74).

"This guy's a Hall of Famer in the making, I believe," Carlos Pena said. "I know he doesn't like to hear that. But to his credit, he's a true professional, and to me, it's just a pleasure to play with him. I'm just so happy to be able to tell my son some day, 'Hey, I played with Carl Crawford.' That's the type of player he is.

"To get to 1,000 hits that quick, that's amazing. And he's doing it without probably knowing he's that good. He's one of the best players in this league, there's no doubt about it. He can hit for average, hit for power, steal some bases, play incredible defense. He can hurt you in so many different ways."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.