Fielder low-key about 500th hit

Fielder low-key about 500th hit

SAN FRANCISCO -- Prince Fielder belatedly picked up a nice souvenir Wednesday.

Brewers PR boss Mike Vassallo presented Fielder with a game ball from Tuesday's 10-6 Brewers loss, which was a bummer of an Opening Day for the Brewers except for the fact Fielder picked up his 500th career hit. Trouble was, no one in a Brewers uniform, including Fielder, knew to ask for the baseball.

So the one Vassallo got his hands on, which was used in the game but was not necessarily the one Fielder hit off lefty reliever Jeremy Affeldt for hit No. 500, would have to do.

"I didn't know," Fielder said. "I usually don't know. I didn't know how many home runs I needed to get to 100 last year until something like three days before. My wife said something. I had no idea.

"I don't pay too much attention because it's not close to anything that's a big deal. I mean, it's a big deal for me, but as far as baseball [history], it's not. It's cool, though."

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Fielder is the third-youngest Brewer to reach 500 hits. Robin Yount got there when he was 21 years, 297 days old and Sixto Lezcano when he was 24 years, 305 days old. Fielder was 24 years, 333 days old Tuesday.

Next on the list is Paul Molitor, who was 25 years, six days old when he notched his 500th hit. Molitor and Yount both reached the 3,000-hit plateau on their way to the Hall of Fame.

Fielder isn't thinking that big just yet.

"Not right now, no," Fielder said. "I'll have to do it for a long time before I do that. I'll have to be good for a long time."

He's been very good during his short time in the Majors. In 2007, Fielder supplanted another Hall of Famer, Willie Mays, as the youngest player in baseball history to hit 50 home runs in a season. In his first three years and 69 days of Major League service, Fielder amassed 500 hits, 279 runs scored, 114 home runs and 313 RBIs, plus 12 stolen bases.

"He swings hard," Brewers manager Ken Macha said. "But you know what? When a guy swings hard like that and makes as much contact as he does and gets the good number of walks that he does, it's pretty amazing. And I think that as he goes on, he's probably going to lay off some pitches that he swings at now, and he's probably going to get more walks."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.