Only one other second baseman in major league history has hit as many home runs as Robinson Cano.
Cano launched a curveball from the Houston Astros’ Lance McCullers Jr. over the center-field wall in the bottom of the first inning on Tuesday for his first home run of the season.
It was the Mariners’ only hit off of McCullers in the Mariners’ 4-1 loss, but Cano has been the Mariners’ best batter through their first 15 games, hitting .333 with a .963 OPS.
Cano’s 13-game on-base streak ended on Monday, so he started a new streak with his homer.
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The native of San Pedro de Marcoris of the Dominican Republic passed Rogers Hornsby for the second-most home runs by a second baseman in major league history with No. 302 in his 14 seasons.
Next on the list is Jeff Kent, who spent the majority of his 17-year-career with the San Francisco Giants. He hit 377 home runs.
“I mean, that’s something as a kid you always dream of,” Cano said. “Coming up and being able to do something special in the game. Doing that today, it would be better if it were in a win and we were celebrating, but you just go home and you focus on the next game tomorrow.”
Hornsby hit 301 home runs in 23 seasons, which began in 1915, when Woodrow Wilson was president and the year Babe Ruth hit his first home run. Hornsby was the 27th elected member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
With Cano’s massive contract it feels like he could play for 23 seasons. This year marks the halfway point of the 10-year, $240 million deal he signed before the 2014 season that made him a Mariners after nine seasons with the New York Yankees.
When Cano hit home run No. 300 last year, he became the 16th player in major league history to record a career batting average of .300 or better while collecting at least 1,000 runs, 2,000 hits, 500 doubles, 300 home runs and 1,000 RBI – joining Hornsby, Edgar Martinez, Hank Aaron, George Brett, Miguel Cabrera, Lou Gehrig, Todd Helton, Chipper Jones, Willie Mays, Stan Musial, Albert Pujols, Manny Ramirez, Babe Ruth, Al Simmons and Ted Williams.
He was asked if his style of play has changed the position of second base.
“Honestly, I never thought about that,” Cano said. “I just feel like another guy who is able to get a job here, who can go to bed and get up knowing you are going to be able to wear the uni for another day. I mean, for me, it’s going out there and trying to do my job and not thinking about whether I have changed the game or whatever I’ve done in the game. I just try to be the same guy and come in here and try to get this team to win a ball game.”
Cano hit 204 of his home runs in nine seasons playing for the New York Yankees before signing with the Mariners ahead of the 2014 season.