As sports fan, we come to define athletes by the numbers that represent them – Michael Jordan’s six championship rings and Brett Favre’s 297 consecutive starts being prime examples. More than anything else, Derek Jeter’s storied tenure with the New York Yankees will be defined by the historic milestone which he crossed in today’s game against the Rays, as the Yankees’ captain became the 28th member of baseball’s 3,000-hit club with a full-count homer in the third inning against Rays’ pitcher David Price.
Throughout their celebrated history, the Yankees have never featured a 3K member. Jeter’s success is going to be celebrated by fans and historians alike, fingers being pointed at different places to identify where his greatness truly lies. Is he defined more by his flashy glove-work or his timely hitting? His calm demeanor or his celebrity within the Big Apple?
The most telling piece of Jeter’s puzzle might be the one that he’s been working towards since ’95: 3,000 hits.
Update: Jeter finished with five hits today, making him the second player in MLB history to record five hits in the same game where he crossed the 3K milestone.