Derek Jeter retired. He was a pretty successful baseball player. You might have heard of him. In all seriousness, the Captain had a truly remarkable career destined for the Hall of Fame in which he notched 3,465 hits throughout a 20-year career, more hits than all but five players to ever play the game. I thought that it would fun to delve deeper into these numerous hits and find some interesting facts to pull from them.
260 home runs
.310 batting average
.377 on-base percentage (OBP)
.440 slugging percentage (SLG)
.360 weighted on-base average (wOBA)
119 weighted runs created (wRC+)
4,019 professional hits
4,219 professional hits, including postseason
Most hits and plate appearances against: Tim Wakefield (133 PA, 36 H, .288/.323/.408)
Most homers against: Sidney Ponson (88 PA, 5 HR, .358/.402/.580)
Most successful against (min. 50 PA): Rodrigo Lopez (69 PA, 4 HR, .426/.493/.672)
Least successful against (min. 50 PA): Scott Kazmir (57 PA, 2 HR, .137/.228/.294)
Other amusing pitcher matchups:
Hideo Nomo (25 PA, .600/.680/.800)
Derek Holland (23 PA, .545/.565/.773)
Brian Matusz (27 PA, .538/.556/.769)
Matt Riley (5 PA, 2 HR, 1.000/1.000/2.500)
David Wells (68 PA, 4 HR, .313/.324/.522)
CC Sabathia (31 PA, .448/.484/.552)
Click to embiggen
Jeter's first career hit came in his second game: May 30, 1995 against Tim Belcher and the Mariners in the since-destroyed Kingdome. The 20-year-old had gone 0-for-5 in his debut, and he and his dad went out for McDonald's afterward. So if the Golden Arches really wanted to market that, they could say they helped him in some weird way. Two innings later, Jeter notched his second career hit, another single, for the first of over 1,000 multi-hit games. Not bad.
Jeter was given the starting job at shortstop in 1996, and he immediately made a strong impression. Facing the defending American League champion Cleveland Indians, who had an incredible .694 winning percentage in '95, Jeter was the star on Opening Day at Jacobs Field, making a great over-the-shoulder catch and homering off Dennis Martinez.
Playoff hit #1
After watching the Yankees' 1995 postseason from the bench, the Rookie of the Year Jeter batted ninth in his first playoff game on October 1, 1996. The Yankees lost that night and Jeter was hitless in his first three at-bats, but he got on the board with playoff hit number one with one out in the ninth, thanks to a single against the Rangers' John Burkett. It was the first of 200 career playoff hits for the Captain, easily the most in baseball history.
Playoff homer #1?
Of course Jeter's first career playoff homer was unforgettable. Trailing by one late in Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS against the Orioles, Jeter smacked an opposite-field drive that was snared by a fan named Jeffrey Maier over the glove of Tony Tarasco. It shouldn't have been called a homer, but it was. Oh well.
Four years and three championships later, Jeter faced knuckleballer Steve Sparks in a September 25th game at Yankee Stadium. He recorded hit number 999 earlier in the game, and he hit the thousand mark in the fifth with a hot smash to third base which Dean Palmer couldn't handle. That was one milestone, but the number that meant more to Jeter was clinching his fourth World Series title a month later.
By 2006, Jeter was the obvious leader of the Yankees and their captain as well. The '06 season was spectacular for him, as he only missed out on the AL MVP because the voters got caught up in Justin Morneau's 130 RBI and the Twins' late snatching of the AL Central crown. Whatever. Regardless, Jeter reached his 2,000th hit on an amusingly weak dribbler in front of the plate on May 26th against the Royals and Scott Elarton. Catcher Paul Bako threw it away, and the official scorer ruled that Jeter would have beaten it out. A bit odd, but it worked.
Jeter was in a slump as he inched toward his 3,000th hit. Following a fifth World Series title in a tremendous 2009 season (one that also saw him become the Yankees' all-time hits leader, Jeter's bat started to slow down during the 2010 and 2011 seasons. He missed time with a calf injury and he was only hitting .270/.331/.329, paltry numbers by his standards. On July 9th against the Rays and future Cy Young Award winner David Price though, he broke out in a big way, going 5-for-5 and reaching number 2,999 with a first inning single and, of course, number 3,000 with a homer to left, just his third of the season. He was only the second member of the 3,000 Hit Club to reach the milestone with a homer, following in the footsteps of his former teammate Wade Boggs.
Final playoff hit: #200
The Yankees were in their third ALCS in four years as they faced the Tigers in Game 1 of the ALCS on October 13, 2012. Jeter knocked a second-inning single as the Yankees tried to rally for their first run. Little did we know that this hit, his 200th playoff hit, would be the last one we would ever see from the Captain. Sigh.
It took a struggling Jeter until September 18th of his last season to go yard at Yankee Stadium; his three previous dingers occurred on the road. Fortunately, Jeter ensured that he would not go homerless at home in his Farewell Tour by crushing an errant R.A. Dickey knuckleball down the left field line and easily gone.
Final Yankee Stadium hit
Gettin' dusty in here all of the sudden.
Final hit: #3,465