Derek Jeter, the New York Yankees’ captain, continues to elevate his stature in baseball lore. He had a single in the first inning Thursday night against Toronto to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. Good stuff. But it was also his 200th hit of the season. Great stuff.
That’s significant because it gives him his eighth season with that milestone number of hits, tying him for first place in franchise history with the legendary Lou Gehrig.
The 38-year-old Jeter returned to shortstop for the first time in a week in Wednesday’s night game, the second of a doubleheader against the Blue Jays.
“It’s a lot of hits,” Jeter said after the Yankees’ 2-1 win. “I’ve always felt that if I was healthy and I go out there and play every day, it’s something I’d have a chance to do.”
Jeter, 38, is the oldest player to collect at least 200 hits in a season since Paul Molitor did so at age 40 in 1996. Jeter is the sixth-oldest player to reach the 200-hit plateau.
He’s also just the fourth player to record a 200-hit season 14 or more years after doing it for the first time. Ty Cobb, Molitor and Pete Rose are the others.
So how did Jeter get there this season?
“I always try to stay consistent,” he said after the Yankees won their fourth straight. “If you’re consistent throughout the course of the year, then you have a chance to do it.”
“It just shows you how great of a player he is and how great of a year he’s had for us,” Girardi said.
A bothersome ankle injury has relegated him to being the team’s primary designated hitter. Jeter aggravated his left ankle last Wednesday in Boston. Since then, manager Joe Girardi has used him as the team’s DH. Jeter did not play in New York’s 4-2 victory in the day portion of the doubleheader..
Jeter entered Wednesday hitting .323. With the first-inning single, he now has 3,288 hits for his career and recently passed Willie Mays to move into 10th place on the all-time hits list. Eddie Collins is next on the list with 3,313 hits.