Baseball is a game that values stats and numbers. Even for people that don't particularly use newer analytics, they generally form your arguments with some kind of numbers. Because of that, it's no surprise that when players reach milestones of any sort, it becomes a big deal. As Yankee fans, we've been lucky to have gotten to see a lot of milestones even in recent memory, so with that in mind, I asked the PSA staff what their favorite Yankee milestone is.
Q: With Alex Rodriguez now tied Willie Mays on the all-time home run list, what's your all-time favorite Yankees' milestone hit/game?
I was in the stands the night Derek Jeter tied Lou Gehrig, so I'm going to go with that. I saw A-Rod hit 600 and Jeter's grand slam live, too, so those are other contenders.
The real second place is probably one of my earliest Yankees memories: flipping through the channels and finding a baseball game on and watching for a few innings. I was about ten and far more interested in playing baseball than watching it, so I think there's no way I watched more than fifteen or twenty minutes. But in that span I saw Don Mattingly's 2,000th career hit. I knew Donnie was great, and he was "our guy" to really root extra hard for. And that may have been the first time I was really excited by MLB baseball.
Of course, the next year I saw Donnie's first playoff hit and then he hit a little home run. And maybe what cemented my life as a Yankee fan was how I suffered as Ken Griffey Jr. rounded third, to see all the joy and hope of those milestones spoiled. I don't think I've ever gotten over that.
DJ3K is the obvious choice for a reason. 3-2 count on, like, the 17th pitch of the at-bat against one of the best pitchers in baseball. Not to mention he was 5-5 that day and pretty much carried the team. #JeterARod2016
I'll always remember Jeter's 3,000 hit/home run. It's really tough to top that one, I'd be interested to hear the arguments presented against it.
The 2004 season is very forgettable for obvious reasons, but during the regular season I was lucky enough to be at a game in June when the Rockies were in town. It was a getaway day for Colorado so it was one of those rare day games on a weekday. In the bottom of the 4th inning Bernie Williams lined a hard single to right field off of Jason Jennings for his 2,000th career hit. I wasn't even aware he was on the verge of it so it was a pretty cool surprise. He ended up 3-for-3 in the game and the Yankees cruised to a 10-4 victory. He was pretty much done as a productive player after that but when the Yankees retire his number in a few weeks it will be way overdue.
I was at the DJ3K hit game, which was pretty phenomenal since he also went 5-for-5. So that almost has to be the favorite by default. Although I did also enjoy A-Rod breaking the grand slam record. Because reasons.
I'll go with Jeter's 3000th hit/homer off Price.
Strong case for "History, with an exclamation point!", obviously, but I think there was something more special for me about Jeter passing Gehrig [on the Yankees all-time hits list]. It certainly seemed like the emotion of the moment got to Jeets when he stood on first base, knowing he was now the Yankee hit leader.
Honorable mention for A-Rod's 500th, in August of his incredible 2007 season, breaking a classic pre-milestone slump. Back when the worst thing anyone would say about Rodriguez was that he didn't show up for October baseball. Certainly the best player in the game though, perhaps on-track to being one of the five or so best ever. Youngest to 500, and it looked like a pitstop on his journey to the record. Pity about all the other stuff.
I'll go with Mariano Rivera's 500th career save, which occurred on the same night as his first career RBI. June 28th, 2009 facing the Mets at Citi Field, Mo entered in the eighth, making it a fitting milestone save for him, then in the top of the ninth, added an insurance run with a bases loaded walk.
I know it's going to be a popular answer, but I'm going with DJ3K. The scene that unfolded at Yankee Stadium was like it was out of a Hollywood movie. The crowd was so electric, and the fact that the Rays tipped their caps to Derek right after he hit the homer was a sight to behold. Also, the fact that Jeter hitting the homer was David Price's Twitter pic for a while was pretty cool, too. I think it'll be a while before someone tops a moment like that.
I think I have to go with Alex Rodriguez's 600th home run. The home run itself was cool and a good moment. But there's also the press conference that came after it. That press conference was the one where the reporter asked him the question about his "eight special (home run) balls" that was very confusing. All A-Rod could answer with was "Thank You." It was a gloriously silly moment from a gloriously silly man.
Those are our answers and now we want to hear from you. What's your favorite Yankee milestone hit or game?