Looking ahead to some 2011 milestones

The musical stresses of Spring Training
2011 Season Preview: Jesus Montero

The cool part about being a Yankees fan is all the history we get to witness. Last season we got to see Alex Rodriguez become just the seventh man to hit 600 homers (and the sixth to hit 610), and the year before we watched Derek Jeter march up the list of career hits as a Yankee, eventually supplanting Lou Gehrig as the leader. The 2011 season won’t be any different, with a few very big milestones on tap.

Everyone and their mother knows that Jeter is closing in on 3,000 career hits, and Ben did a fine job pinpointing when that historic hit may come. That one will surely take the cake, overshadowing any other noteworthy career accomplishments that take place. Here’s a few of those other milestones that have a chance to be reached during the 2011 season…

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

A-Rod – 630 HR & 1,900 RBI
Alex’s assault on various record books will be fun to watch in the coming years, and this season he has a chance to both tie and surpass former teammate Ken Griffey Jr.’s career total of 630 homers, moving him into sole possession of fifth place all time. He’s 17 long balls away from tying Junior. The RBI total isn’t as historic but is impressive nonetheless; just ten men have driven in 1,900 or more runs in there careers. A-Rod is just 69 away from that total, and if drives in a hundred runs on the nose, he’ll end this season in sole possession of eighth place on the all-time RBI list, right between Ty Cobb (1,938) and Jimmie Foxx (1,922). Only three men have ever driven in 2,000 runs in their careers (Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, and Cap Anson), a group Alex is on pace to join a year from now.

Mariano Rivera – 600 saves
Trevor Hoffman lays claim to the most saves in baseball history, but I think everyone agrees that Rivera is best closer reliever the game has ever seen. He notched his 500th career save against the Mets in 2009, but he’ll need some serious help getting to 600 this summer: he’s 41 away. That doesn’t sound like much, but Mo has saved 40+ games in a single season just once in the last five years. With his age continually creeping up and Rafael Soriano there to vulture some save opportunities (I don’t think we’ll see Mo work three consecutive days all that often in 2011), this one might be on hold until 2012.

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Mark Teixeira – 300 HR & 1,000 RBI
Last season we watched Tex club his 250th career homerun on his 30th birthday, and he now sits just 25 away from that nice round number, number 300. He’s also 94 RBI away from a thousand on his career, another nice round number. There are 122 members of the 300/1,000 club, but just 41 did it before their 32nd birthday. Barring injury or a total offensive breakdown, Tex will make it 42 this year.

CC Sabathia – 170 wins
We all know that wins are a stupid way to evaluate pitchers, but I do think they are somewhat telling over the course of a career. A high win total speaks to longevity, durability, and an overall positive performance, otherwise the guy wouldn’t have kept a job. Even if you don’t agree, the players appreciate the stat and put stock in their career totals. Sabathia is still only 30 years old, but he already has more career wins (157) than Doug Drabek and Dizzy Dean, among others. If CC gets those 13 wins to bring his career total to 170, he’ll have passed guys like Ron Guidry (170, okay tied), Brett Saberhagen (167), and Sandy Koufax (165). The number of pitchers to win 170 games before their 32nd birthday in the expansion era is just 16, and 13 of them either are or will be in the Hall of Fame.

* * *

Those are the big numbers, the ones with some historical value, be it large or small. Here’s a few other miscellaneous milestones, ones that will have more value at the personal level…

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Pedro Feliciano – 500 appearances
Relievers are so damn volatile and have such short shelf lives that 500 career appearances in the big leagues really is an accomplishment. Hell, one appearance in the show is an accomplishment. Feliciano needs to get into just 41 games to reach 500, a number 253 men have reached in the last 39 years.

Nick Swisher – 200 doubles & 500 RBI
Some more nice round numbers, Swish is 15 away from the former and five away from the latter. Hooray for him.

Brett Gardner – 100 steals
Gardner made up some nice ground on this minor milestone last season, swiping 47 bags in his first full season as a big league starter. He stands 14 away from the century mark, and if he doesn’t get that in April, send him to the minors. (Kidding)

Freddy Garcia – 150 wins
Getting halfway to 300 is a pretty big accomplishment, but I think we’d all be stunned if Sweaty Freddy a) wins the necessary 17 games in 2011, and/or b) even makes 17 starts for the Yankees this summer.

Jesus Montero – first career everything
This should be fun.

The musical stresses of Spring Training
2011 Season Preview: Jesus Montero
  • Kiersten

    Love the end. So pumped.

  • vin

    Alex had 553 HRs by his 32nd birthday. 53 ahead of Jimmie Foxx who is #2 on the list. And 85 ahead of Mickey who is #3. Holy crap.

    • Poopy Pants

      Did Jimmie and Mickey cheat, though?

      • Jorge

        I’m sure that, by the definition of “cheat” that’s been accepted as truth in the past ten years, they probably did something to make Mike Lupica resent the fact he can’t bench press a grapefruit.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        Would you be surprised if they did?

        • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

          Would you do steroids if you believed it could get you a $100+ million contract?

          I would.

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

            You could knock a zero off that number and I’d still do it.

            • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig


              • king of fruitless hypotheticals

                would you do it for a million? 850k?

                that’s where the hard questions are. i’m sure there are some folks that would shoot up something much worse for $20.

                for the record, i’d never do steroids.

                otoh, i would totally put a c-note on you to make the over. don’t screw me!

                • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

                  $20? no way. but something like $10 million+ and the fame and glory of being a pro-baseball player? Hell yeah. That’s life changing money. You and your family wouldn’t have to worry about money ever again.

      • Mike

        Steroids (which the evidence for them improving baseball performance, let alone HR totals, is inconclusive) or not, Arod’s achievement are on par with Mantle and surpass Fox’s given the level of competition today vs then (black players, level of pay, foreign players, etc.).

        It’s easy to forget how good of a career Garcia has had. 150 wins is a very impressive total. I’m not sure who I would bet on if you put Tommy Hanson career wins vs. Freddy Garcia.

    • boogie down

      Actually, A-Rod had 499 career homers when he turned 32 on July 27, 2007.

      His 35th HR of that season came on July 25, 2007, in a 7-1 win over the Kansas City Royals, at Kauffman Stadium. It would be another 10 days before he hit another HR; Number 500 came at home against the Kansas City Royals on August 4, 2007. It was then that A-Rod officially became the youngest baseball player ever to hit 500 HR’s, amassing the total at the age of 32 years, 8 days.

      As he has hit 30 HR’s in each of the last two years, the 553 HR figure represents his career total through the 2008 season. B-Ref has A-Rod’s correct birthday listed on his player page, so I don’t know why the miscalculation occurred.

      At any rate, A-Rod’s a beast and I’m gunning to select him in the 2nd round of both of my fantasy drafts this year.

  • j-f

    Jeter and A-Rod are also closing in on some other cool but less meaningful milestones:

    Jeter should become the Yankees all-time leader in games played (he is 106 behind Mantle) and stolen bases (3 behind Rickey) this season.

    A-Rod could reach 500 career doubles (he’s 26 shy). That would tie him for 50th on the career list. Ruth sits at 506, and if Alex is healthy all year that’s not out of the question

  • bonestock94

    I feel empty when a Arod breaks a record. I can’t help it, I’ve read plenty stating that it “still counts” but still.

    • bonestock94

      when Arod*

    • Mister Delaware

      You’ve been conditioned. No era is clean, you can overlap segregation into greenies into PEDs if it makes you feel better.

    • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

      Not sure “empty” is the right word to describe it for me. When A-rod was going for #600 I was still excited, I was at a couple games when he was sitting at 599 at it was an amazing atmosphere every time he came up to bat. But there’s still something missing, and I think it was more that you felt you were watching a Yankee moment, and not baseball history.

      • Poopy Pants

        You were excited that a spoiled millionaire who hits balls for a living achieved something by cheating? I think some soul searching might be in order.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

          I think someone needs to get off their high horse and stop telling people how they should feel.

          • bakekrukow412


        • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

          Well I guess the true HR king for you must be Roger Connor. Since he played before steroids were invented.

          A-Rod cheated
          Bonds cheated
          Hank Aaron cheated
          Babe Ruth probably was cheating
          Everyone else on the list probably cheated at one point.

          • king of fruitless hypotheticals

            Connor cheated on his taxes.

            • boogie down


        • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

          If I wasn’t excited why would I watch it? Baseball is entertainment, a distraction from boring everyday life. Yeah, he did steroids, and I wish he hadn’t. But it’s not going to stop me from enjoying watching him hit home runs.

          • Mister Delaware

            Look at the big picture! The only thing that can possibly matter is the most important thing because all other things pale in comparison!

    • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

      I do not care about steroids. If someone took them, that’s their decision. I’m not going to hang them for it. If you’re gonna feel empty about A-Rod, then you can’t really consider Hank Aaron to be the HR king either.

      • bonestock94

        What was it that Aaron did again? I forget, was it amphetamines?

        • Nedro

          They were all on speed back then. It was the gold standard, like roids is now.

  • RL

    Screw the Jeter & Arod milestones. 3,000 hits and 630 HRs mean NOTHING! I want to see the Montero milestones!

    /kidding’d, somewhat

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      “I’ve seen Derek Jeter get a hit 2,900+ times, another 74 is nothing special!”

  • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

    I’m thinking A-rod finishes the year with exactly 650 HRs.

  • Monteroisdinero

    I only care about milestone #28. Banuelos gets a World Series start!


    • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

      a start? Nah probably not.

      a ring? Well that’s a possibility.

  • king of fruitless hypotheticals

    …Goose would make for some pretty fantastic competition for that reliever title.

    What a great year this is going to be!


  • Mike Myers

    People need to get over the Arod cheating thing. Dont forget a ton of pitchers are on the juice too. People have been cheating in baseball since it began. Different types of uppers, pain killers and suppliments that are real close to roids are being taken today and have always been. Lets not forget HGH isnt even tested. Lets not foget olympians get around much stricter testing. Its still going on.

    • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig


  • bakekrukow412

    If A-Rod hits a home run off of Roger Clemens in 1998 does that still count as cheating?

    • Tank the Frank

      If they both rubbed Tiger Balm on their nuts pre game…I’d say it’s even steven. Count it.

  • Mike Myers

    I wanted to see how far Arod was off milestones on Wiki and saw something funny.

    Alex Gonzalez is going to pass Alex Gonzalez on the all time HR list next year with one more home run at 138. Ha. Check it yorself.


  • fire levine

    My favorite kind of preseason story. Makes me feel all cuddly and warm on the inside :-)

  • TraderJones

    Arod never cheated when he took steroids they weren’t against MLB guidelines at the time. Therefore not cheating. Eventually I think we will accept steroid use in the 90’s and early 00’s and stop mentioning it every time a player reaches a milestone.