I know this might be a controversial statement on this pro-Yankees website, but that Derek Jeter guy has had a pretty amazing career. Aside from being able to retire as one of the greatest Yankees to ever play the game, he also will be retiring with some pretty phenomenal numbers. While it can get tiresome when being brought up on broadcasts, I still enjoy watching the true greats pass other amazing players while climbing up the MLB statistical leaderboards. With there now being a definitive timetable for Jeter's departure from The National Pastime, we can get a pretty good idea where he will end up on those leaderboards. And most importantly, we can see all the greats he can pass on those rankings. Let's look at what's in reach for The Captain in his final year.
Hits: 3,316 (currently 10th all-time)
This is the big one, and while I'm pretty sure we had retired any thoughts of Jeter reaching 4,000 a while ago, 3,500 would still be an impressive plateau to reach (and require a lot of good health). Jeter's only three hits away from Paul Molitor and only 103 from Carl Yastrzemski, so passing the all-time Red Sox hits leader is an absolute must. It's just the way things should be. Jeter can also pass Honus Wagner in career hits by a shortstop with 115 to pass Wagner's total of 3,430.
Runs scored: 1,876 (currently 13th)
Jeter has scored over 100 runs 13 times and will likely be right back at the top of the order this year, but reaching 2,000 would require an incredible effort. And a great season from the Yankees lineup. Getting into the top ten would only require 44 runs, which would also temporarily unseat the universally beloved Alex Rodriguez. Stan Musial would be next up the ladder.
Singles: 2,470 (currently 6th)
When I close my eyes and picture a Derek Jeter at bat, I see either a line-drive the other way or him inside-outing a pitch in on his hands for a hard single. So it's not a shock that Jeter is the most prolific singles hitter not named Rose born after 1890. Willie Keeler resides in fifth, 43 hits away. The four others are probably too many one-baggers away. I am unsure if that is an actual baseball term.
Defensive games as a SS: 2,544 (currently 3rd)
For better or worse, Jeter has stuck at the same position he was brought up to play some twenty years ago. There's been talk of him moving positions for years now, but he's certainly not going to do it in his last year, so passing Luis Aparicio at 2,581 should be simple enough. Only Omar Vizquel will have lasted more games as a shortstop in baseball's history. It's quite an accomplishment to manage to stay at one of baseball's most difficult positions for twenty seasons.
When a player is able to make it this high up the statistical ranks, it's a testament to both their longevity and sustained excellence. There are more nuanced ways of looking at just how impressive Derek Jeter's career has been, but sometimes it's just fun to see where a departing legend ranks among the very best to ever play. It's just one of roughly a billion different ways we'll be looking back at Jeter's accomplishments as we enjoy his ride into the sunset.