Several stars poised for milestone

Updated: April 23, 2003, 12:19 PM ET
By By Jim Henzler, STATS, Inc.
Sammy Sosa's first homer of 2003 wasn't any ordinary dinger. When Sosa went deep on April 4, he joined an exclusive group, becoming only the 18th player in history to reach 500 career homers. That group could be welcoming a couple more members before the end of summer, as Rafael Palmeiro (495) and Fred McGriff (480) continue their march toward the coveted total. Likewise, the ranks of 300-game winners will swell this year when Roger Clemens records four more victories.

In the meantime, another cherished milestone will go unchallenged in 2003, just as it did the year before. Rickey Henderson's ascension to 3,000 hits in 2001 culminated a busy decade (1992-2001) during which nine players reached that lofty territory. In fact, the number of new entrants reaching 3,000 hits in those 10 seasons nearly matched the 10 players who got there in the 66 years between 1926 and 1991.

But while the 3,000-hit spigot has been turned off temporarily, a number of players continue to gurgle through the pipeline. As many as 11 active hitters have established at least a 20-percent chance of getting to 3,000 before they call it quits.