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Humble Pierre reflects on hits, stolen bases

CHICAGO -- With a pinch-hit single and pair of steals on Tuesday, Juan Pierre continued his march up the ladder on a couple of baseball's all-time lists. Pierre tied  Willie Randolph and Carlos Beltran with 2,210 hits -- one behind Willie McCovey and four in back of Joe DiMaggio -- while inching closer to Otis Nixon on on the stolen base leaderboard. Pierre, the majors' active leader with 613 steals, ranks 13th all-time, seven steals behind Nixon.

"The names that you start getting on the list to, it's hard for me to fathom," Pierre said. "I almost feel like I don't deserve to be on that list. It's still hard for me to grasp the names I'm associated with on the hits list. I just wanted to get to the big leagues, let alone think about hits. I never really played the game to set out to do this and do that. Just to be in the same company with these guys is crazy. I bet you could ask these big league players now and tell them how many hits I have, and they would be like, 'No way.' I always flew under the radar."

Pierre is quick to acknowlege that his high hits total is due primarily to a combination of longevity (he's in his 14th season) and low walk totals. Due to his lack of power, pitchers were ever afraid to go after Pierre and didn't nibble.

"Being a guy that didn't walk a lot, I had to get hits to get on," Pierre said.

But Pierre is proud of the fact he piled up stolen bases in an era when the home run was king.

"To have the running game during the steroids era -- because I was right in the bulk of it -- and most teams didn't want to run," Pierre answered when asked whether he was more in awe of his hits or stolen base totals. "I was fortunate to play here with Jack (McKeon). He was an old-school manager. He would be like, 'Go! What are you waiting on? Run!' So I think it helped in an era where it was 3-run home runs and 'Don't move. Don't run us out of an inning.'"

As a result, Pierre has been able to pass some of the greatest base stealers the game has known.

"When I passed Davey Lopes and Maury Wills on that list, I was like, man, those cats there, they were the best of their generation," Pierre said. "To pass them. That's crazy. Kenny Lofton (622 stolen bases) was one of the guys I really tried to pattern my game after, and I'm close to him."