Derek Jeter Reaches 3,000 in Style
Saturday, July 09, 2011
Derek Jeter is Mr. 3,000.
Jeter hit a home run in the third inning of Saturday's game at Yankee Stadium off a pitch from the Tampa Bay Rays’ David Price to reach 3,000 career hits.
The Yankees captain is the first in pinstripes and only the 28th player in baseball history to achieve the milestone, joining the ranks of Hank Aaron, Willy Mays and Cal Ripken in batting's elite club.
The accomplishment came as Jeter, 37, has struggled at the plate in recent months. He finished last year with his lowest batting average since his rookie season in 1995 and he has a lower average at this point in the season than at the same time last year.
John Thorn, official historian of Major League Baseball and author of Baseball in the Garden of Eden: the Secret History of the Early Game, said the record is icing on the cake for a career that includes selection to 12 all-star games and five World Series Rings. He added that plateaus like 3,000 hits or 300 wins aren’t all that significant in baseball history.
"This milestone appears grander because Derek Jeter is a likeable player," Thorn said. "It's the persona and the city in which he plays."
Regardless, Major League Baseball tried to capitalize on the legions of fans looking to commemorate the milestone and licensed a product line of apparel and collectibles called DJ 3K. The products have been embargoed for sale until the hit happened.
As Jeter got closer to hit No. 3,000, demand for anything emblazoned with the fan favorite spiked at stores.
"There's certainly a buzz around the stores about Jeter merchandise,” Rich Lampmann, Director of Marketing for Modell's Sporting Goods, said earlier this week.
On June 13, Jeter was just six shy of the milestone when he strained his right calf and spent three weeks on the disabled list. He went hitless against the Cleveland Indians on Monday, his first night back with Yankees.
He earned two hits on Tuesday and one on Wednesday before returning to the Bronx to face the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday.