ATLANTA — Yadier Molina is turning into a milestone machine.
It should come as no surprise. When you’ve been in the major leagues for as long as he has—and with his level of production for all these years with the Cardinals—it’s only natural to see the franchise’s leaderboard littered with his accomplishments.
With a first-inning double off Mike Foltynewicz as part of the Cardinals 14-3 shallacking of the Atlanta Braves Tuesday, Molina climbed another rung on the team’s all-time doubles leaderboard. Career double No. 367 tied Molina with Rogers Hornsby for fifth in the club’s history. Only Stan Musial, Albert Pujols, Lou Brock and Joe Medwick hit more doubles in their Cardinals careers. At 377, Medwick may very well lose his spot in fourth to Molina before the year’s end.
Of course, Molina still needs one more double to officially take sole possession of fifth place from Hornsby, whose career batting line of .358/.434/.577 should give some pretty good context as to the type of hitter he was.
“It’s a great honor when you reach those milestones,” Molina said. “I’m going to enjoy it for now but tomorrow’s going to be another day, and hopefully I can pass him.”
In the fifth inning of the Cardinals onslaught Tuesday, Molina added to his accolades for the night by swatting his 150th career home run—all as a Cardinal, of course. Molina will have to keep flashing that muscle if he’s to break into the top 10 in Cardinals history for that category. He currently stands 13th in the organization’s history, with Joe Medwick and Matt Holliday standing in his way before he can reach Johnny Mize’s 158 career home runs for the Redbirds.
Molina also ranks eighth in hits, ninth in RBIs and fourth in games played among the all-time Cardinals leaders. Even as he competes in his 16th MLB season at age 36, Molina continues to display his love for the sport on a daily basis, a fact not lost on his manager Mike Shildt.
“You’re talking about a guy who’s been in the league since 2004, has been to four World Series, won two, nine Gold Gloves and has cemented himself as one of the best players in the game, has made, rightfully, a good amount of money, and there’s no satisfaction to anything he does," Shildt said. "He just wants more. He’s hungry, he loves the game. Maybe as much—I can’t speak for him—now as he ever has. His passion and his thirst for always getting better and always looking to improve, I respect that highly.”
You don’t have to explain that to Cardinals fans, though. Molina’s longstanding diligence and intensity for his craft is one of many reasons his supporters will cherish the franchise catcher for however long he wants to stick around in a player’s uniform—and then some.
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