In 15 seasons in the majors, the seven-time All-Star has
only savored the October exhilaration on three occasions ?? in 2004 with the
Astros, 2006 for the Mets and now in 2012 as a member of the Cardinals.
During his limited stints in the postseason, Beltran has
demonstrated that he's suited for the big stage. This year, he's showcased his
poise under pressure, belting three home runs and six RBIs through seven games.
"I'm just enjoying myself. I don't feel
pressure," Beltran told reporters after leading St. Louis to a Game 1
victory. "I don't feel like I need to do something special."
six-year absence from the playoffs, Beltran is catapulting himself as one of
the league's clutch players. Had he played in more postseason games, he could
have padded together a legendary resume.
Take a look
at his magnificent performance in the 2004 playoffs. In his October debut,
Beltran carried the Astros on his back, launching eight round-trippers ?? four
in the NLDS and four in the NLCS ?? to go along with 14 RBIs.
It was an unprecedented showcase of talent through 12
postseason games, as Beltran scorched through the NLDS with a .455
average and NLCS with a .417 average.
Two years later, Beltran delivered in majestic fashion once
again. After a subpar showing in the NLDS against the Dodgers, he ignited the Mets
in the NLCS with three home runs and four RBIs.
Like in 2004, Beltran took his team the distance to Game 7.
But his unit ultimately couldn't finish against the Cardinals.
Even at 35, Beltran is still pounding St. Louis' opponents
the way he used to pummel the Cardinals in his prime. It's makes you forget he
toiled away in Kansas City for the first seven seasons of his career.
But Beltran is shredding pitchers under the bright lights.
In 29 career games in the postseason ?? entering Monday ?? he's unloaded 14
home runs, 25 RBIs and boasts a .370 average along with a 1.305 OPS.
Whether or not he reaches the World Series this season,
Beltran has clearly established himself as one of the best October players.
It's only a shame the outfielder has experienced just three postseason pushes.