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Derek Jeter returns to New York sitting on 2,997 career hits

Jul 6, 2011, 10:53 PM EDT

New York Yankees v Cleveland Indians Getty Images

Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter talked his way into the starting lineup Wednesday evening in Cleveland and pushed a step closer to reaching one of baseball’s elite milestones: 3,000 career hits.

Jeter struck out on a tricky fastball from Indians right-hander Justin Masterson to open the game and then flied out to center field in the third inning. In the sixth he drew a walk, his first since returning from a three-week battle with a right calf strain.

The heroics finally arrived in the eighth.

Jeter tallied the 2,997th hit of his career in his final at-bat of the night, ripping a one-out double over the head of Indians right fielder Austin Kearns. He then advanced to third base on a groundout by outfielder Curtis Granderson but was stranded when first baseman Mark Teixeira was retired to end the frame. The Yankees lost to the Indians 5-3.

Jeter heads back to Yankee Stadium on Thursday for the start of a four-game series against the Rays. He’s in prime position to reach hit No. 3,000 in front of the fans who’ve cheered him on through thick and thin over the past 17-plus seasons. It should be quite an atmosphere this weekend in New York.

Jeter is 5-for-9 lifetime against Thursday’s scheduled starter Jeff Niemann, 1-for-2 lifetime against Friday’s starter Jeremy Hellickson, 6-for-25 (.240) against Saturday’s starter David Price and 17-for-54 (.315) against Sunday’s starter James Shields. Of course, small sample sizes such as these mean very little and every one of Jeter’s at-bats is going to be accompanied by postseason-like pressure. Past results matter not.

  1. sknut - Jul 6, 2011 at 10:57 PM

    Maybe they can do an extended spring training thing so Jeter leads off every inning to ensure he will get his 3,000 hit in front of the home crowd before the all-star break.

  2. yankeesfanlen - Jul 6, 2011 at 11:04 PM

    Second at bat Saturday, about 2PM EDT. Hilarity ensues. Empire State Building lights up blue at dusk.

  3. ditto65 - Jul 7, 2011 at 7:59 AM

    I was talking to Derek last night after the game and he was adamant that he could care less when or where he gets #3000. He also wishes the press what stop making such a big deal about something 27 other guys did before him. “Just let me play the game” was the last thing I heard Jete say as he turned and walked away.

    • stoutfiles - Jul 7, 2011 at 8:25 AM

      Is that why he sat down with Harold Baines to talk about all his milestone hits that he remembers perfectly?

      • ditto65 - Jul 7, 2011 at 8:48 AM

        The Union made him do it. And HBO came after him.

  4. kopy - Jul 7, 2011 at 8:43 AM

    It’s going to be sad when people reflect on this season and clamor over Jeter’s 3000 hits, which 27 people have done before him, while Thome becomes the 5th clean player to join the 600 home run club.

    • tigertigerwoodsyall - Jul 7, 2011 at 9:29 AM

      How can you hate on a man for getting 3000 hits? 27 people in front of him on the list that does not include a single Yankee. Try to understand what that means. As good as Ruth, Berra, Joe D, Mickey and Lou were….none of them are on the list. To do it all in pinstripes is something that will be talked about for decades. Like or love the Yankees, they mean a lot to baseball and its history.

      Just because baseball has seen 27 do it before him, doesn’t mean it isn’t a HUGE milestone. You should also note that 21 of those people before him were older than him when they did it and another 3 were the same age (although Jeter may be younger, seeing how he just turned 37). Jim Thome is a good guy and a great ballplayer, just like Jeter. Nothing bad to say about him, either.

      I went to the baseball almanac web site for these numbers and found a quote from the top of the 3000 club portion of their site that even Red Sox haters can appreciate. Carl Yastremski helps to put reaching this club into perspective: “Anything less would not have been worthy of me. Anything more would not have been possible.”

      • kopy - Jul 7, 2011 at 9:46 AM

        I’m not hating on him or the accomplishment. It’s a big one. It’s just that 600 home runs is bigger, but nobody seems to care.

      • bobwheel - Jul 7, 2011 at 10:02 AM

        Well said. He has done nothing but play the game the right way for his entire career, and represent his franchise properly. Regardless of his declining skills, it is a huge accomplishment, as is Thome reaching 600 HR’s. Jeter happens to play in the largest media market, hence the increased focus. Everyone is free to have their opinion of him, but no one can take away his record on the field.

    • tigertigerwoodsyall - Jul 7, 2011 at 10:12 AM

      Unfortunately, the steroid abusers have tainted homerun hitter’s accomplishments. Thome deserves more attention than he gets, but I’m sure he’ll be ok with it once he’s got some bronze in Cooperstown.

  5. FC - Jul 7, 2011 at 9:43 AM

    I wonder if we’ll ever see players reach the Exclusive 4,000 hit club. It’s a shame Rose gambled. It’s not right that the all-time hits leader is not in the Hall of Fame while they are quite likely more than a few questionable characters in it with undeniable Baseball credentials. On the other hand Rose made it MORE difficult for himself. He should have just come clean and contrite from the beginning and done whatever it took to get him back in baseball’s good graces. Pride goeth and all that…

    • tigertigerwoodsyall - Jul 7, 2011 at 10:20 AM

      Betting on baseball is a no-no. Pete was great on the field but a complete moron for doing what he did. He and Shoeless Joe pay the same price.

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