In Major League Baseball, the 3000 hit club is an informal term applied to the group of players who have made 3000 or more career base hits. Currently, there are 28 players who have accomplished this.
In general, the 3000th hit is not a surprise, as the player has been approaching the mark for some time. However, teams will often interrupt the game in which the player reaches the mark in order to honor him on reaching a historically significant milestone in what has been an excellent baseball career. The club's "founding member" was Cap Anson in 1897, even before what is known as the "modern era of baseball," making the 3000 hit club one of the oldest markers of greatness in the sport. Getting 3000 hits is generally considered - barring severe bad behavior off the field - one of the most reliable marks of a player entering the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The 3000 hits mark indicates good performance over a long period of time. An average ball player gets approximately 600-700 at-bats per year, of which a good player will bat safely in roughly 180-233—between a .300 and a .333 batting average. At this pace, a ball player will reach 3,000 hits in between 12 and 17 seasons. Since most players only play for up to 8-10 years at the Major League level, and usually decline significantly in their numbers toward the end of that period, only a player who remains healthy over a long period and can continue to play like a younger man into his late 30s and even his early 40s can successfully amass 3,000 hits.
Rarely mentioned is the 4000 hit club, which only has two members.
After a slump in the 1980s, the 1990s saw seven players reaching 3000 hits, tied with the 1970s for the most of any decade.