The moment New Yorkers and other baseball fans have been waiting for finally arrived on Saturday. Derek Jeter, Yankees captain and shortstop, entered an exclusive club when he became the first Yankee and only the 28th player to achieve 3,000 hits during his career. To make the moment even more special, Jeter became only the second player, after Wade Boggs, interestingly of Tampa Bay, in 1999, to reach the milestone with a homerun.
Always a Yankee
Jeter has always played for the Yankees, and he has always shown a consistency and stamina most other hitters lack. Even such stratospheric stars as Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra did not reach 3,000 hits.
Derek Jeter began his now lustrous career in 1995, and became the Rookie of the year in 1996, helping the Yankees win the World Series that year. The Yankees achieved championships in ’98, ’99, 2000 and 2009 with the great contributions of Jeter. He has another extraordinary distinction as baseball’s only player to win the All-Star Game MVP Award as well as the World Series MVP Award in the same year, 2000. He was voted American League All-Star no less than 12 times, and has received a whole slew of other baseball awards- a testimony to his prowess at the game.
Five Hits on Saturday
Saturday’s game could be called a microcosm of Jeter’s entire career, giving one of his finest performances as the Yankees vied against the Tampa Bay Rays, winning 5-4, in large measure thanks to the efforts of Jeter.
Jeter’s 3,000 hit came during the third inning, when he hit a home run. The homerun, against left-handed pitcher David Price, was Jeter’s first at-home homer since June. By the end of the game Jeter had a laudable 5 hits, a stat he only achieved twice before during regular season games. His last hit of the day was a ‘go-ahead’ single during the eighth inning, giving the Yankees’ their 5-4 victory.
Fan Returns Homerun Ball
Yankees fan Christian Lopez of Highland Mills, NY caught the ball in the left-field seats. He chivalrously returned it to Jeter after Jorge Posada, Jeter’s close friend and teammate, joined him at home plate for a big bear hug, with Mariano Rivera joining in on the moment.
Only 3 players in history achieved 3,000 hits at a younger age than Jeter, who reached his 37th birthday on June 26; and those players are Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron and Robin Yount.