A few weeks ago, I would wager that very few people knew Lou Gehrig was the franchise hits leader of the Yankees. Breaking that record was not something Derek Jeter had on his radar until he heard about it from the media.
But what this record has done is give everybody — fans, teammates and even the media — a chance to celebrate Jeter the individual.
Jeter has never won an MVP. He has never led the league in hitting or had the most RBI. He scored the most runs once, but that was back in 1998. He is a player defined by team accomplishments and his own consistency of effort and performance. What speaks better to that than having the most hits?
Sure, Jeter has more at-bats than Gehrig. But that record had stood since 1939. It took somebody special to come along and break it and Jeter was that person.
You know what stuck with me from tonight? Seeing the Rays on the stop step of the dugout applauding.
“I’m very happy for him,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. “He carries himself in a manner that’s worthy of passing Gehrig.”
Maddon speaks for everybody in baseball when he says that.
It also was fitting that Derek’s buddy Jorge Posada won the game with a home run. That enabled Derek to really enjoy the night. One would think that the Stadium would be packed on Friday night and wouldn’t it be just like Jeter to poke a single into right field in the first inning?
Here is Jeter talking about his big night:
The Yankees are off on Thursday and so am I. There will be a few posts but nothing too elaborate.