Thursday, June 2, 2011

Derek Jeter and the 3000 はい

As all of you already know Derek Jeter (2986) is just shy of the magic number of 3000 hits. The media is tracking every at bat and even trying to predict when, based on the Yankee schedule and pitchers he will face, the magic game will occur. He may be the only one who will do it this year. The pressure is on Jeter just as if he were going for a home run record. Ivan Rodriquez (2834) and Omar Vizquel (2819) are close bets for next year or the next.

This milestone is a huge deal in baseball. It is a milestone because it takes great technical skill and consistency to be able to survive long enough to collect the 3000. There are only 27 players to have ever hit for 3000-plus. Some of the biggest names like Babe Ruth did not hit 3000. Lou Gehrig is not on the list nor is Ted Williams. Charlie Gehringer, Barry Bonds and Dave Parker are not on the list.

Of course Pete Rose holds the all time record with 4256 and Ty Cobb at 4189. Along with them are Rod Carew (3053), Lou Brock (3023) and Roberto Clemente (3000). Also, for Jays fans, Paul Molitor (3319) and is ninth on the all time list. So are Dave Winfield (3110) and Rickey Henderson (3055)on the list.

It takes time to reach the 3000. Rose took 16-plus year to make the mark. Some of the top names took similar or more time to get there. Hank Aaron – 17 yrs, Stan Musial – 18 yrs, Tris Speaker – 19 yrs, and Ty Cobb – 17 yrs. Peter Rose led the league seven times in hits and Jeter has led only once. Most of the leaders hit an average of 150 to 165 hits per year. Derek Jeter has hit 182 on average for the last sixteen years.

If Jeter is successful he will have taken 16-plus years to accomplish the feat. A feat that means he has played a full schedule and has not suffered too many injuries over the years. He is now 37 years old. He is in good company as the median age for hitters in the 3000 club is 37 years old. Aaron, Musical and Cobb were all right around 37 years old. Now, all these players hit more than 3000. Roberto Clemente hit just 3000. Derek Jeter will join this august and hearty group soon.

Another leader who is even more spectacular is Ichiro Suzuki. Ichiro only started in the MLB at age 27. He has amassed, so far, in 10-plus years, 2305 hits and over those 10 years has averaged 224 hits per year. He led the league in hits seven of those ten years. He also holds the single season record for most hits at 262. He has the lowest number of career strike outs at 697, nearly half of all the other hit leaders. At his current pace he will outstrip all other previous players and reach the 3000 in just 13-plus years. The time is coming. Ichiro is only 37 and with his good fortune and his skill he might get to play like Rose. Rose hit another 1199 hits in his last ten years to age 45.

For all the above-named players, it has always been a hitter's year. Pitchers beware. If Ichiro can go even eight more years he could add another 1000 hits to his current for a total of 3305 placing him 11th on the list, just ahead of Willy Mays. Incredible.

No comments: