Robinson Cano joins a club only occupied by Derek Jeter and Lou Gehrig with new milestone

It’s still hard to say if he reaches the vaunted 3,000 mark, but Robinson Cano entered rarefied air on Tuesday when he notched career hit No. 2,500.

Facing San Diego Padres rookie Cal Quantrill in the first inning, the New York Mets second baseman belted a ground-rule double over the Petco Park fence.

Cano is the 101st player in MLB history to record 2,500 career hits and only the third active player along with Albert Pujols (3,106) and Miguel Cabrera (2,712). Cano became the sixth Dominican-born player, joining Pujols, Adrian Beltre, Vladimir Guerrero Sr., Manny Ramirez and Julio Franco.

Cano also somehow made New York Yankees history with the hit, despite not having played for the team in six years.

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Robinson Cano through his career
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Robinson Cano through his career
New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano hangs on the dugout rail in the eighth inning of the Yankees' 7-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium in New York, May 29, 2005. Rey Sanchez played in place of Cano in tonight's game. REUTERS/Jeff Zelevansky JAZ
New York Yankees batter Robinson Cano strikes out swinging on a pitch from Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Derrick Turnbow with no outs, and a baserunner on second base in the ninth inning at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin June 6, 2005. The Yankees went on to lose to the Brewers 4-3 giving them six loses in the last seven games. REUTERS/Allen Fredrickson AF/TC
New York Yankees batter Robinson Cano reacts as he watches his two-run home run of Baltimore Orioles pitcher Chris Benson in the third inning of their MLB baseball game in New York's Yankee Stadium April 21, 2006. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine
American League All Star Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees listens to a question at a news conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, July 10, 2006. Major League Baseball will hold its 77th All Star Game on July 11. REUTERS/John Sommers II (UNITED STATES)
New York Yankees' Robinson Cano (L) celebrates his eighth inning three run home run in the dugout with teammate Bobby Abreu against the Kansas City Royals during their American League baseball game in Kansas City, Missouri September 4,2006. REUTERS/Dave Kaup (UNITED STATES)
New York Yankees player Robinson Cano leaves the dugout after his team was defeated by the Toronto Blue Jays at the end of their MLB American League baseball game in Toronto May 29, 2007. REUTERS/Mark Blinch (CANADA)
Baseball team New York Yankees' Robinson Cano poses during the team's photo day at Legends Field in Tampa, Florida February 21, 2008. REUTERS/Scott Audette (UNITED STATES)
New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano throws out Boston Red Sox Mark Kotsay (not pictured) to end the third inning of their American League MLB baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts September 26, 2008. REUTERS/Adam Hunger (UNITED STATES)
New York Yankees batter Robinson Cano watches the ball after he hit a home run against the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning of their MLB American League baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, May 20, 2009. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine (UNITED STATES SPORT BASEBALL)
New York Yankees batter Robinson Cano (R) is mobbed by teammates including CC Sabathia (C) and Joba Chamberlain (L) after he hit a single to score the winning run against the Toronto Blue Jays in the 11th inning of their MLB American League baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, August 12, 2009. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine (UNITED STATES SPORT BASEBALL IMAGES OF THE DAY)
New York Yankees Robinson Cano gestures towards teammate Melky Cabrera after Cabrera drove him in on a hit against the Los Angeles Angels during the ninth inning in Game 4 of their Major League Baseball ALCS playoff series in Anaheim, California October 20, 2009. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES SPORT BASEBALL)
New York Yankees batter Robinson Cano swings as he hits a grand-slam home against the Cleveland Indians in the seventh inning of their MLB American League baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York May 28, 2010. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)
Seattle Mariners runner Josh Wilson slides under New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano (R) after he was forced out at second base on a ball hit by Mariners batter Ichiro Suzuki in the fourth inning of their MLB American League baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York August 20, 2010. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL IMAGES OF THE DAY)
New York Yankees' Robinson Cano (L) is congratulated on a solo home run by teammate Derek Jeter in the second inning during Game 4 of their Major League League Baseball ALCS playoff series against the Texas Rangers in New York, October 19, 2010. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)
New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano stands in front of the scoreboard at Fenway Park reflecting the seven runs the Boston Red Sox scored during the fifth inning of American League MLB baseball action at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts April 21, 2012. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)
American League All-Star Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees practices before Major League Baseball's All-Star Game in Kansas City, Missouri July 10, 2012. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)
New York Yankees Robinson Cano blows a bubble while rounding the bases with a solo home run in to tie the game against the Oakland Athletics during the ningh inning of their MLB baseball game in Oakland, California July 20, 2012. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)
Dominican Republic's Robinson Cano smiles after hitting an RBI single against the New York Yankees during the fifth inning of their exhibition baseball game in Tampa, Florida March 6, 2013. REUTERS/Scott Audette (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)
Dominican Republic's Robinson Cano holds his gold medal after his team defeated Puerto Rico in the final to win the World Baseball Classic in San Francisco, March 19, 2013. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)
Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees speaks with reporters before the Major League Baseball All-Star Game Home Run Derby in New York July 15, 2013. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)
Dec 12, 2013; Settle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano (center) poses for a photo with Seattle Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik (left) and Seattle Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon (right) during a press conference at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 29, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano (22) motions to his former teammates on the Yankee Bench during his first at bat against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 29, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano (22) hits a two-run homer against the Houston Astros during the sixth inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 5, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano (22) runs the bases after hitting a two-run homer against the Texas Rangers during the first inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 21, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano (22) celebrates following his game winning walk off sacrifice fly ball against the Toronto Blue Jays during the twelfth inning at Safeco Field. Seattle defeated Toronto 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 16, 2017; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners left fielder Guillermo Heredia (5) gets a hug from second baseman Robinson Cano (22) after hitting the game tying home run against the Texas Rangers during the seventh inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
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What Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter and Lou Gehrig all have in common

According to the Elias Sports Bureau and via Jon Heyman, Cano is just the third player to reach 2,500 career hits that made his debut with the Yankees. The other two: Derek Jeter and Lou Gehrig.

The list being that short is pretty surprising. Sure, the Yankees have a long history of acquiring talent rather than developing it, but the team’s greatest dynasties had homegrown talent as their core.

Mickey Mantle came close with 2,415 career hits, but the star’s infamous struggles with alcohol and injuries took their toll before he could reach the milestone. Joe DiMaggio, who averaged 207 hits per season on his way to 2,214 career hits, would almost certainly have reached it had he not lost three seasons in his prime to World War II. Yogi Berra (2,150) faced a strong headwind as a catcher. Bernie Williams (2,336) was one good season short. Don Mattingly (2,153) was two good seasons short.

Cano is unique in history as one of the best players to ever voluntarily leave the Yankees in his prime, and joining the Jeter-Gehrig club is a testament to that.

Will Robinson Cano enter the 3,000-hit club?

Of course, Hall of Fame voters don’t put much cache in the 2,500-hit club. The 3,000-hit club is where it’s at, and Cano is one of a handful of active players with a tangible shot at one of baseball’s biggest milestones.

Cano is currently playing in his age-36 season and is under contract with the Mets for four more seasons after this year. He’s on pace to finish the season with 134 hits, which would bring his career total to 2,604 at season’s end.

If Cano were to play out four more seasons, he’d only have to average 99 hits per season to hit the mark. He could also lower that average needed by picking up the pace this season, as he’s currently hitting a career-low .256.

Of course, the Mets might not want to give Cano regular at-bats in his age-39 and -40 seasons. That would put a lot of pressure to produce during the earlier seasons if Cano is headed to the bench in a couple years, but the Mets invested enough in Cano this offseason by taking on his contract that it’s easy to see them sticking with him for as long as they can.

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