On a day meant to celebrate the history of their rivals, it was a pair of Yankees who further established their legacies yesterday.
Rodriguez moved into sole possession of fifth place on baseball’s all-time home runs list. The player he passed was his longtime teammate, Ken Griffey Jr.
“It means I’m getting older, that’s for sure,” Rodriguez said. “Grif, like I said last week, he was a great friend, and a mentor and a great teammate. It’s kind of flattering, humbling, when you start being mentioned with some of these great names.”
The names just keep getting better for Rodriguez, who is now 29 home runs behind Willie Mays for fourth place.
“The coolest thing about our situation here is that every game, every swing means something for our team,” Rodriguez said. “We have much bigger goals around here than trying to chase history or chase record books. But obviously when you talk about names like Willie Mays, when the time comes, that’s a pretty great name.”
Career hit No. 3,111
Jeter moved into sole possession of 18th place on baseball’s all-time hits list. The player he passed was his longtime idol, Dave Winfield.
“Everyone knows how I feel about Dave,” Jeter said. “He was my idol growing up. Like I said yesterday, to have your name next to his in anything, in my opinion is an honor. I’m happy to have had an opportunity to pass him, but it’s just quite an honor.”
Jeter literally grew up with a poster of Winfield on his bedroom wall in Michigan. The two have since become good friends, having met early in Jeter’s career, when he first burst onto the scene in New York.
I think when you’re younger, you look up to someone and a lot of times you almost don’t want to meet him. You don’t want him to ruin it. But he definitely didn’t ruin it. I’ve enjoyed all the time that we’ve spent together throughout the years. … I look up to him. To have your name next to his in anything, in my opinion, is an honor, especially considering I’ve looked up to him. It means a lot.”
Associated Press photo