Sep
15

Derek Jeter and Lou Gehrig all tied up

By

Derek Jeter has put on a hitting clinic this weekend. (Photo by Benjamin Kabak)

For Yankee fans born after 1939, Lou Gehrig exists in legend. His is an image in black-and-white photos, grainy TV footage and, of course, seminal speeches. He was, even as he approaching death, the luckiest man on the face of the Earth. We know him as a retired number, a plaque and a Yankee Great.

Today, as the Yankees battle for the pride of third place, we all saw another Yankee Great in action. In my mind, it’s hard to link Derek Jeter with Lou Gehrig simply because Gehrig is who he is. But there’s Derek Jeter, and in seventy years, when someone else great comes along, they’ll talk about Derek Jeter with the same reverence we reserve for Lou Gehrig now.

When the Yankees came back to the Bronx after their four-town road trip, Derek Jeter needed to collect ten hits in ten games to establish himself as the all-time hits leader at Yankee Stadium. The man he’s shooting to pass is, of course, Lou Gehrig. Well, Jeter has responded in a big way. In his last 14 ABs spanning the first three games of the last homestand in Yankee Stadium history, Jeter has collected 12 hits.

In the fifth inning today, Jeter tied Lou Gehrig’s record of 1269 hits, and he did it in grand fashion. As has long been Derek’s wont, Number Two lofted a ball the opposite field and over the right-center field wall for a home run. It was Derek’s 206th career home run and the 106th he’s hit at Yankee Stadium. More than a bunt single or a booming double, this home run allowed Jeter to trot around the bases, enjoying the adulation of a crowd who knew they were watching one of the all-time Yankee Greats accomplish a once-in-a-lifetime feat.

Meanwhile, the Yanks handily downed the Rays today. As our team limps to a middle-of-the-pack finish, they wrapped up the season series with the Rays, winning two of three this weekend and 11 of 18. Carl Pavano, strong enough until tweaking his hip, picked up his third win of the season. The oft-injured righty says he’ll make his next start on Friday. His career is probably depending on it.

Four batters into the Yanks’ first, A-Rod launched a grand slam deep into the right field bleachers. The Yankees had a lead. They wouldn’t look back, and with Derek’s name atop the Yankee Stadium hit list, and Mariano Rivera on the mound, the final sight my parents — lifelong Yankee fans — would see at the House that Ruth Built was a strike out as a Rivera cutter bore down on Willy Aybar. What a way for my parents to say their final good byes to Yankee Stadium.

Categories : Game Stories

12 Comments»

  1. Mike W. says:

    Just said to a friend today – I have never been to Cooperstown for a HOF induction. My first one, I think, will most likely be Derek Jeter’s. He is my favorite baseball player that I have ever watched play the game. It is so fitting that he is going to own the record for most hits in Yankee Stadium…

  2. BigBlueAL says:

    A-Rod launched a Grand Slam deep into the Right-Center Field bleachers. Just nit-picking….

  3. Bart says:

    Jeter has been special ballplayer and we can root that he will continue to be to the end of his career — no Mattingly injuries or Tino/Bernie declines in offense. His tenure with the Yankees has paralleled my youngest son’s interest in baseball, probably like many other sons around the country.

    He may also be a special human being. Like Robin Yount he needs to go play CF. He will be better than average out there, likley can save some wear and tear on his body, and turn SS over to another player while he still leads the team. If not 2009 (after all 1st year in the new stadium) then 2010, but sooner is bettter than later.

  4. DonnieBaseballHallOfFameDotCom says:

    I am very happy and was rooting for Jeter to get this record. It is odd though because obviously without the disease for Lou or the injury for Donnie, one of them would hold this record.

    Now I am rooting for Jeter to get to over 200 hits, which will be hard but is still possible.

    Been a long time since we had to root for things like this in a season, but I am ok with it as long as it bring change and this team starts to get constructed the right way. This team has been built wrong for at least 4 or 5 years now. Part of that was inevitable, part of that was not being able to take a step back for a year or two.
    Either way if the right moves and NON moves are made this offseason I feel confident we can be right back in the thick of it and possibly win a WS in the next three years.

  5. Bill N says:

    When he hit that home run yesterday it was one of the coolest moments I have ever been apart of at any ballpark. It made me and my dads last trip to The Stadium a memorable one, esp being our first time sitting in the bleachers. Congrats Jetes.

  6. pat says:

    coaching staff of the future…

    Posada-manager
    jeter-hitting /bench coach
    Mo-Pitching

  7. Patrick says:

    Nice write up. Cool day for your parents. :)

  8. Old Ranger says:

    As BigBlueAL with nit pickin…
    How about that diving catch by Brett last night? I wish he would start hitting…oh well, he will.
    The part of that play that may have escaped noticing by some was; He took off as the ball was hit, there are maybe 5 OF (Jeter also) in the bigs that can get a jump like that on a ball…it’s instincts, can’t be taught, now if he can hit. Another show of the reason some of us are calling for much better defence and younger athletes that can situational hit.
    We all understand the tenuous relationship between situational hitting and power hitting. Next year we will have; A-Rod-40+,Posada-20+, Cano-25+, X-man-25+ that is over 100 HRs. Now, supplement those HRs with people that can (and will)move runners over or hit a fly ball to bring one in…get on base and hit a HR once in a while.

  9. jsbrendog says:

    Jeter watch 2012, the race to 4,000 hits

    • Old Ranger says:

      Good enough to play a long time, good records fall. Still is funny having Jeters name among the greats of the game. He has worked a long hard time for it, good for him.

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