There are very few professional athletes who reach the kind of heights that put them into the category of legend. The
Yankees have a player of such magnitude in their proud shortstop that is referred to today as “The Captain.” He has played a major role in helping the “ New York Bronx Bombers” winning four World Series crowns in the last 17 years. Along the way he has made amazing plays in the regular season as well as in the postseason. He has won the hearts of New Yorkers as well as baseball fans and sports fans across the country and even the world. On Saturday July 9th versus the team’s American League Division rival the Rays, this proud player joined an exclusive group of Major League Baseball (MLB) players and he did it in dramatic fashion. Tampa Bay
In the bottom of the third inning, Yankees Shortstop Derek Jeter hit his third home run of the season that tied the contest at 1-1. That hit was the 3,000 of his proud Hall of Fame career which made him the 28th player in MLB history to reach that milestone.
On the day, “The Captain” went 5-for-5 at the plate, scoring two runs and had the game-winning RBI in the “
Bronx Bombers” 5-4 victory over the Rays. The five hits Jeter had are the most by any player at the New Yankee Stadium.
“I wasn’t sure it was going to be a home run,” Jeter said after the game.
“I’ve hit some home runs. I was hoping but afterwards it was relief. I was excited, but to be honest with you I was pretty relieved.”
He became just the 11th player of those 28 to have all 3,000 hits with one team. He joins Stan Musial of the St. Louis Cardinals (3,630); Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox (3,149); Cal Ripken, Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles (3,184); George Brett of the Kansas City Royals (3,154); Robin Yount of the Milwaukee Brewers (3,142 s); Tony Gwynn of the San Diego Padres (3,141); Cap Anson of the Chicago Cubs, known back then as the Chicago White Stockings (3,081); Craig Biggio of the Houston Astros (3,060); Al Kaline of the Detroit Tigers (3,007); Roberto Clemente of the Pittsburgh Pirates (3,000).
To put this date in an even greater perspective, Jeter became the first Yankee ever in their proud history to achieve 3,000 hits and became just the second player ever to accomplish this feet with a home run. The only other player to do that was former Yankee Wade Boggs nearly 12 years ago as a member of
Tampa Bay when they were nicknamed the “Devil Rays in front of the home fans at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL.
Boggs who was Jeter’s teammate when he was a rookie and they helped the Yankees to the title in a statement said, “I had an opportunity to play with Derek Jeter when he was a rookie in and I had no doubts that Derek would reach this milestone. He is a very consistent player and he never deviated from the game. When you stay healthy, and you are consistent and compile a lengthy career like Derek has done. You have the opportunity to reach that 3,000 plateau. Reaching the 3,000 hit mark is another piece of the legacy that Derek has created. It won’t be too long now before we are on the Veranda in
Cooperstown at the Otesaga Hotel celebrating his induction to the Hall of Fame.”
This great day was more than just about this great player reaching a milestone that only a few have reached. This day really was a capsule of what Derek Jeter’s career and life not just as a Yankee but as a person.
From the first days that he was exposed to baseball, Jeter who was born in
North Arlington NJ and raised in all he wanted to do was to play for the Yankees. Kalamazoo, MI
A lot of that inspiration came from when he was a kid when in the summer he and his younger sister Sharlee would stay with their grandparents in
and they would take them to see the Yankees at the old Stadium. New Jersey
Central High star and later Hall of Famer’s dream came true back in 1992 when he was drafted in Round 1 as the 6th overall. Kalamazoo
Jeter would make his debut in “Pinstripes” at the
Mariners on May 29. 1995. His first major league hit came the next day, a single to left side off Tim Belcher. Seattle
The rest as they say is history. That history is composed of 2,213 singles, 481 doubles, 62 triples and 236 home runs. It also includes being the all-time leader in Yankees history in hits in the regular season, which he became when he passed Lou Gehrig last year and he is the all-time leader and the all-time leader in postseason hits in MLB history.
“You can’t come up with the words. To recognize that he did this and started this whole process back in 1992 is rewarding. It almost got a parental feeling to it,” MLB long time scout Dick Groch said to Kim Jones.
More than anything what Jeter has accomplished on the diamond is one that has gained in respect by the fans and his opponents.
When Jeter hit his third dinger of 2011, he got a not just a standing ovation from the crowd of 48,103, but the Rays players stood in their dug out and showed their respect. One of those teammates was former Yankee teammate Johnny Damon. When Jeter made his way across the diamond, Rays’ first baseman Casey Kotchman tipped his cap to Jeter on his historic accomplishment. No one though was more proud of this moment and understood what it meant than Jeter’s family and friends that were in attendance.
“I mean it was just tremendous,” Dr. Charles Jeter said to YES Network sideline reporter Kim Jones. “I really can’t describe how I was feeling then…To have Derek to come up there, were pulling for him and he hits a home run on the 3,000 hit. I just can’t describe it.”
While to the
faithful this is something to be amazed by it is something that is no surprise to his teammates and his manager. New York
“I think he enjoys that moment He looks forward to it,” Yankees DH Jorge Posada said after the game.
“I don’t expect anything less than that from him because he takes the challenge,” said Yankees closer Mariano Rivera.
“I don’t think you could script it any better,” Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi said after the game. “To get your 3,000 hit and a home run that tied the game and to get 3,003, a game-winner it just remarkable the day that he had.”
Taking the challenge is something that Jeter has made a staple for all 17 years of his career and this game was no different.
His homer not only got him into the history books, but it also tied the score at 1-1. His 5th and final hit scored the game-winning run and as we have all come to know about Jeter, winning is the only thing that matters at the end of the day.
“It would have been really, really awkward to be out there doing interviews and waiving to the crowd after the game if we would’ve lost. So that was going through my head in my last at bat there. It’s nice obviously to get a hit, but we needed to win this game,” Jeter said.
Information and statistics are courtesy of 7/9/11 1 p.m. game of the Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Yankees on Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network (YES) with Michael Kay and John Flaherty; 7/9/11 11 p.m. edition of CBS 2 News at 11 with Cindy Hsu, reports from sports anchor Otis Livingston and Dave Carlin; 7/9/11 11 p.m. edition of Eyewitness News with Sandra Bookman and Joe Torres, report from sports anchors Laura Behnke and Rob Powers; 7/10/11 6 a.m. edition of Eyewitness News This Morning with Phil Lipof and Michelle Charlesworth, report from sports anchors Laura Behnke and Rob Powers;