Monday, July 11, 2011

Congratulations, Mr. Jeter

I have to admit that even I, a card-carrying Yankee hater and full-fledged member of the "Jeter is Overrated Club", got a kick out of that 5-for-5, dinger for 3k, game-winning RBI performance on Saturday.

It's true that if Michael Kay said "the Captain" one more time, with that mix of teen-girl breathlessness and religious awe that one associates with lunatic cult members, I would have thrown my beer at the television screen.

But at the end of the day, I am a) a reader and writer who loves a great story, and that was an amazing story, and b) a baseball fan who revels in the statistical oddities of the sport. And the idea that Derek Jeter, who had hit a homer in precisely 1 of the previous 132 Yankee games (including post-season) would homer for his 3000th hit, is a statistical oddity of the highest order. Toss in 4 other hits and a game-winning RBI, and you have one of the most improbable days in baseball history. What baseball fan wouldn't love that?

(You buying any of this?)

Anyway, in honor of 3000, I'm linking to my piece entitled Chasing Tris Speaker, in which I make some attempt to estimate Jeter's career hit totals, and explain how important they are to his legacy. The short version is this: Jeter needs 516 hits to catch and pass Speaker, which would put him in the Top 5 all time. That's 171 hits over 3 full seasons, meaning he'd need to stay healthy and reasonably productive through his current contract, and get at least one more season in the bigs.

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