Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Peña homers for 1,000th career hit
Posted Apr 24, 2012 by Roger Mooney
Updated Apr 24, 2012 at 11:34 PM
ST. PETERSBURG It was only fitting that Carlos Peña would homer for the 1,000th hit of his career, and it was a typical Carlos Peña home run – a towering shot that landed deep in the right field seats at Tropicana Field.
“It’s a tale of a dream come true,” Peña said after the Rays 5-0 victory Tuesday against the Angels.
Peña’s shot came in the sixth inning and increased the Rays lead to 4-0.
It was the 479th hit for Peña as a Ray and his 262nd career home run, 148 of which came as a Ray.
“I’m grateful that I was able to get the opportunity to get one hit,” Peña said. “I dreamt about getting one hit in the big leagues, so for me to be able to get 1,000, I can’t put it into words how special it is for me. The one thing that sticks out is I’m grateful, extremely grateful, to be able to sit here and say, ‘Wow, I’ve got 1,000 hits in the big leagues.’ That’s a lot. To me, that’s a lot. Maybe that mark is not as celebrated in baseball because we celebrate 2,000 and we celebrate 3,000. I celebrated my first one. I celebrated the fact that I got one, so 1,000 is just icing on the cake – a lot more icing on the cake.”
Peña’s first hit came in September 2001 when he was supposed to be the future of the Texas Rangers. Since then he’s played for the A’s, Tigers, Red Sox, Cubs and Rays, so he has some perspective on what it takes to get 1,000 big league hits.
But as he rounded first base, he passed Angels first baseman Albert Pujols, who has 2,089 career hits.
“And all I thought of was, ‘Wow, this guy’s got 2,000 of these things.’ I’m like, ‘Man, I have to do this double to reach where he’s at.’ So it kind of puts things into perspective,” Peña said, “but that doesn’t take away from how grateful I am and how cool it is just to be able to say I got 1,000 hits in the major leagues. That’s awesome.”