Sunday, July 10, 2011

Jeter's big 5-for-5 day includes No. 3,000

NEW YORK — The New York Yankees have won 27 championships with a diverse collection of baseball's greatest players.
From the groundbreaking power of Babe Ruth to the unmatched hitting streak of Joe DiMaggio to the three
perfect-game pitchers, the Yankees' starry constellation outshines all others.
But the one thing the Yankees never had, until now, was a player with 3,000 hits. A few have passed through on their way to the milestone, but only one has collected 3,000 as a Yankee. He is Derek Jeter, the veteran team captain, who got there in a most improbable way Saturday at Yankee Stadium.
He hit a home run.
Jeter, who had singled in the first inning, connected in the third inning off David Price of
the Tampa Bay Rays, driving an off-speed pitch with a full count deep into the seats above the left-field wall.
"You want to hit the ball hard," Jeter said. "I didn't want to hit a slow roller to third base and have it be replayed forever."
Jeter tied a career best by going 5-for-5 and singled home the go-ahead run in the eighth inning.
It was only the third home run of the season for Jeter — and his first over the fence in the Bronx since last June 12. Including the postseason, Jeter had homered in just one of his last 108 games.
Jeter became the 28th player in history to reach 3,000 hits, and the first since Craig Biggio of the Houston Astros in 2007. He is the fourth youngest to do it; only Ty Cobb , Hank Aaron and Robin Yount joined the club at a younger age than Jeter, who turned 37 on June 26.
That puts Jeter ahead of the pace set by Pete Rose, the career hits leader, who retired at age 45 with 4,256. Jeter is signed for two more years, with a player option for 2014, but Rose is not on his radar.
"You have to play another five years and get 200 hits to get that extra thousand," Jeter said recently. "You're talking about a long, long time. You never say never, but it's not something that's on my mind."
Jeter's recent performance offers few hints of Rose's staying power. This has been Jeter's most trying season, with a career-low .257 average through Friday. But he has played roughly a season's worth of games (147) in 30 postseason series and done it all at shortstop, the most demanding position in baseball besides catcher.
Only one other player, Hall of Famer Honus Wagner in 1914, reached 3,000 hits while still a regular shortstop.
"It's a number that's meant a lot in baseball," Jeter said. "To be the only Yankee to do anything is special."
Oh, and for good measure: Jeter stole a base too.
"I don't think you can script it any better," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi . "This is already movie-ready."
3,000-hit club
Through Saturday (x-active, y-played before 1901):
1. Pete Rose, 4,256
2. Ty Cobb, 4,191
3. Hank Aaron, 3,771
4. Stan Musial , 3,630
5. Tris Speaker , 3,514
6. C. Yastrzemski, 3,419
7. y-Cap Anson , 3,418
8. y-H. Wagner, 3,415
9. Paul Molitor , 3,319
10. Eddie Collins , 3,315
11. Willie Mays , 3,283
12. Eddie Murray , 3,255
13. y-Nap Lajoie , 3,242
14. Cal Ripken Jr ., 3,184
15. George Brett, 3,154
16. Paul Waner , 3,152
17. Robin Yount, 3,142
18. Tony Gwynn , 3,141
19. Dave Winfield , 3,110
20. Craig Biggio, 3,060
21. R. Henderson, 3,055
22. Rod Carew , 3,053
23. Lou Brock , 3,023
24. R. Palmeiro, 3,020
25. Wade Boggs , 3,010
26. Al Kaline , 3,007
27. x-Derek Jeter, 3,003
28. R. Clemente, 3,000

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