Unless you’ve completely ignored the sports world today, you know the news of the day. Derek Jeter notched his 3,000th hit today off a David Price slider into the left field stands, joining a club of 27 other players who have accomplished the feat.
After a first inning single, Yankees Stadium had a buzz that the 3,000 mark was going to be reached today. Jeter ended up being a triple short of hitting for the cycle after going 5-5, including the game-winning hit in the 5-4 Yankee win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
“It would have been really, really awkward to be out there doing interviews and waving to the crowd after the game if we had lost,” Jeter said. “So that was going through my mind in my last at-bat there. It is nice to get a hit, but we needed to win this game.”
“It was a great moment for Derek, his family and the history of the Yankees franchise,” former teammate and current Tampa Bay designated hitter Johnny Damon said. “Derek stands for the good stuff in baseball. I’m proud of him.”
In a sport clouded with steroid use and sinking interest, Jeter is one of the few players who kids can still idolize and aspire to mirror one day. Jeter is the first Yankee to reach the 3,000 hit milestone and the 2nd player to reach 3,000 on a home run-the first being Wade Boggs.
“Only a guy like Derek Jeter,” his teammate Alex Rodriguez said, “can have a day, and a moment, and a hit like he had today.”
Jeter is the first player to hit the 3,000 mark since Craig Biggio reached it in 2007 and is the fourth youngest player to reach the mark at 37 years and 13 days old, only surpassing Robin Yount, Ty Cobb and Hank Aaron. Pete Rose held fourth place on the list before today.
Who caught the 3,000 hit home run ball which was estimated to be worth $250,000? 23-year-old cell phone salesman and recent graduate from St. Lawrence University Christian Lopez, who didn’t ask for anything other than the right to give Jeter the ball himself and shake his hand. According to Yahoo! Sports, to show their gratitude, the Yankees organization gave Lopez season tickets for the rest of the Yankees games, including playoffs, as well as autographs.
“No, not really,” Lopez said when Yankees announcer Michael Kay later asked him if he asked for anything in return. “He deserves this, he’s worked hard for this … I’m not the type of person to take this away from him.”
Class act move by the fan, but I think I would’ve bargained for a few of those student loans to be paid off also.