I'm just one away from 300 home runs, and the 1,000-RBI mark is getting within reach. Both will be great achievements for me, but I think reaching the RBI plateau will make me happiest. I'll take a two-run single over a solo home run, anytime.
These kinds of milestones always make you proud, because it shows that you've been around the game for a while. Not a lot of people have hit 300 homers or knocked in 1,000 runs, so to get to those numbers will be satisfying.
My first home run came in 1998 with Cleveland. I don't really remember much about that day. When you're that new, you're just happy to be in the big leagues.
I do recall there was a lot of satisfaction. When you first come up, you look for that first big league hit. Once you get that out of the way, you look for that first home run. Those are really great moments for every player, and I was definitely excited about it.
I've done a pretty good job at keeping some of the memorabilia from my early milestones. I have the ball from my first hit, the ball from my first home run, the ball from my first grand slam and the ball from my first 100-RBI season. I have them safe and secure in the bar room at my house.
You don't think about milestones such as 300 homers or 1,000 RBIs when you're starting out. You're just trying to get your hits so that you stay in the big leagues. You're also hoping that you stay healthy and have some longevity.
As a young player, you think more in terms of getting 10 years of big league service time. That's a magical mark for a lot of players. When you reach 10 years, then you start thinking about keeping a baseball jersey on for as long as you can.
Eventually, if you're lucky and stay healthy, the numbers-related milestones start piling up.
Richie Sexson hit his 299th home run on Sunday and entered the Mariners' homestand against Baltimore with 922 RBIs. He twice hit 45 home runs in a season with Milwaukee (2001, 2003).
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.