Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter accomplished quite a bit on the baseball field. He was New York’s captain, a five-time World Series champion, and a Baseball Hall of Famer, among many other things. One of his signature moves, though, is coming up huge in clutch situations. When it comes to Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit, the right-handed hitter entered the exclusive club in the most memorable way possible.
Setting the stage
In Jeter’s 16 big-league seasons between 1995 and 2010, he built up a reputation for being one of the game’s most consistent hitters. Over the course of 10,548 plate appearances, he slashed .314/.385/.453 with 234 homers, 1,135 RBI, and 1,685 runs scored. He finished with a batting average better than .300 11 times.
This consistency also left him on the precipice of history entering 2011. Jeter began the year with 2,926 career hits. His season got off to a ho-hum start, evidenced by a .260/.324/.324 line. Things got a little more complicated when a calf injury forced the Captain to the Injured List in the middle of June.
On July 4th, he returned and was less than 10 hits away from punching his ticket into an incredibly exclusive club. It didn’t take him long to get there, either.
Derek Jeter’s Memorable Day
As with any legendary player approaching a milestone, the hope is he can do it at home. When Jeter returned from the IL, New York was in Cleveland. That was followed by three games at Yankee Stadium before leaving for a seven-game road trip.
So, that matchup with the Tampa Bay Rays in the Bronx was Jeter’s best shot at making history in NYC. Of course, he delivered.
He entered the second game of this series on July 9th just two hits shy of 3,000. He began the game with a leadoff single and followed it up by hitting number 3,000 into the stands for a home run. If his day ended there, that would’ve been memorable enough. But we all know how Jeter operated — that was only the beginning.
These two hits were part of a 5-for-5 day at the dish in what was eventually a 5-4 Yankee win. His final hit — a ground-ball single up the middle — drove in the eventual game-winning run. Check out it all out here:
This moment was memorable for all the obvious reasons. However, it was a little extra memorable considering the circumstances.
As announcer Michael Kay said, Jeter became the first Yankee to enter the 3,000-hit club. By doing so with a homer, he joined Wade Boggs as just the second hitter to reach the milestone with a round-tripper. And regarding the totality of his day, Jeter joined Craig Biggio as the only other player to record a five-hit performance on the day they entered the club.
As if all of that wasn’t enough, the five hits Jeter recorded tied a career-high mark.
Jeter’s Performance the Rest of the Way
It was almost like once he finally notched that 3,000th hit, he could relax again and go back to just hitting. This memorable performance acted as a springboard to getting his season back on track. From July 9th through the end of the regular season (295 plate appearances), Jeter slashed .338/.392/.451.
He followed this season up with his eighth and final year of 200-plus hits in 2012. In fact, the 216 knocks he collected led the league as he finished seventh in American League MVP voting.
When the dust settled on his 20-year career in 2014, Jeter finished with 3,465 hits. That ranks sixth all-time behind Pete Rose, Ty Cobb, Henry Aaron, Stan Musial, and Tris Speaker. None of those guys entered the 3,000-hit club in the way the Yankees’ longtime shortstop did. And while we can never say never, not many will enter it in the future in the same fashion he did, either.
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