Brimming with immense natural talent, shortstop Robin Yount was just eighteen years old when he was first called up to the Milwaukee Brewers in 1974, immediately becoming one of the youngest regulars in baseball history. Combining that head start with steady production in the face of injuries, hard-nosed intensity, and admirable team loyalty, Yount became a member of the elite 3,000-hit club eighteen seasons later, still with the Brewers.
After a spring ankle injury and a brief stab at joining the PGA tour, the veteran 22-year-old posted his first outstanding offensive season in 1978, batting .293. Weight training helped bulk up his numbers in the ensuing years. He led the league in doubles in 1979 and reached the first peak of his career in 1982, leading Milwaukee to the World Series with a .331 batting average, 29 homers, and 114 RBI — all career highs. He also led the league in hits, tied for the lead in doubles, and led shortstops with 489 assists. After the season, he was awarded both a Gold Glove and the AL MVP Award. He was the top vote-getter for the All-Star Game.
Shoulder surgery after the 1984 season threatened to end Yount’s career before his 30th birthday, but he held on, moving to center field to put a little less pressure on his throwing arm. Though he adapted well to the outfield, Yount’s power was significantly reduced, but it wasn’t long until he was his old self again. Yount batted above .300 four consecutive years (1986-89) and had yet another incredible MVP season in 1989. Hitting .318
The 3,000-hit plateau was fast approaching, though the team-minded Yount was typically modest about the achievement. “I guess if you play long enough and go to the plate enough times, you’re going to get a certain amount of hits,” he said toward the end of the 1992 season. “It’s really not that big a deal.” Still, Yount became only the 17th man in history to reach the milestone in his career on September 9, 1992 against Cleveland’s Jose Mesa. Yount retired after the 1993 season with 3,142 career hits and 1,406 career RBI. Since retiring, he has stepped up his participation in professional motorcycle and automobile racing.