White Sox left fielder Juan Pierre collected his 2,000th career hit on Thursday night, a line drive to left field against Indians left-hander David Huff. He later added his 2001st.
Pierre is the 14th player to get his 2,000th in a Sox uniform. Paul Konerko did it on Aug. 23 in Anaheim, Calif. But the thing Pierre, who also leads active players with 552 stolen bases, is most proud of is his durability.
He played all 162 games in five straight seasons from 2003-07, misses two last season with the Sox and has missed four this year.
"As a baseball player, I didn't think anything of stolen bases and hits, just a guy who shows up every day to play,'' he said after accomplishing the hits milestone in the Sox' 8-1 victory. "That's why I always try to play 162 games if they let me. That's the one thing I concentrated on every day, just to be in there fighting and battling with the guys and being in there every day. For people to notice, it's pretty cool but I did it just to be a teammate.''
Three months ago, Pierre's name was dirt on talk shows and wherever Sox fans got together. He was slumping with the bat and in the field.
"Three months ago everybody was ready to choke my head off here but I still wanted to be in there every day,'' he said.
Manager Ozzie Guillen and teammates stood firmly behind him.
"It was unfair for sure,'' Sox captain Paul Konerko said. "But if there's one guy who can handle it, it's him. You won't get in there with him. You won't affect Juan's approach. He's not going to get rattled. He's as tough as anybody. I think real baseball people that look at what is the right thing to be looked at aren't saying it.
"The people who are kind of un-informed, sometimes it's one of those things where someone starts saying it and it turns into a snowball thing and everyone is just kind of saying it. But when you look at what is important to winning and people who know that, you just shake your head.
You know he's a good player and a winning player. Somjetimes there's a disconnect between what we as baseball players know is right and what the outside perception is. It's part of being a big leaguer but it happens a lot.''
Konerko said something half-jokingly to Pierre, who is the all-time active leader in bunt hits, to bunt for his 2,000th.
"I was like no, my ideal one would be in that six hole over there [through the left side of the infield] and it happened. I was relieved. Good accomplishment that hasn't sunk in yet.''
The ball was rolled to the Sox dugout, where teammate Alex Rios waved it at Pierre. Rios then lobbed a different ball into the first rows of the dugout. Pierre, standing on first, waved it off like "no big deal.''
Which isn't the case.
"I was trying to get it in Minnesota and fly under the radar like I usually do,'' Pierre said. "Yeah, it's a big milestone but I never put too much emphasis on it.
"But definitely just the work you put in, it's pretty cool to get the accomplishment. Other than that, I don't hold too much stock in it.''