New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter continued his ascent on the all-time hits list, moving into a tie with legendary Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Honus Wagner for sixth place with career hit No. 3,430 on Friday night.
Jeter entered the game one hit behind Wagner and pulled even with a single in his first at-bat in the first inning off Cleveland Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer. The hit was of the infield variety, which was obviously more common in Jeter's younger, healthier days. And it may actually be the point of some question as the play easily could have been ruled an error as opposed to a hit.
Indians shortstop Jose Ramirez had to field the ball while moving to his left before spinning and making an off balance throw to first base. The throw was a shade offline and forced first baseman Carlos Santana to stretch to his non-glove side to catch the ball. The ball was on time and Santana's glove was there, he just failed to squeeze it, which allowed Jeter to reach.
Given the degree of difficulty of the entire play, it's easier to justify it being ruled a hit. When broken down to the catch and where Jeter was at that point, he would have and should have been out, so Santana really should have charged with an error.
It's a judgment call, and in this case Jeter got the benefit on his home field. But that's not to say it being ruled a hit changes the history of baseball or mars his accomplishment in any way. We all just envision milestone hits being a little more clean cut than that. That said, for every ruling that has gone Jeter's way, including this one, there's probably one that went against him, too.
The scoring could also be reviewed by MLB late Friday or early Saturday, but that seems unlikely. We can safely mark this down as a hit, Jeter's next will move him into sixth place all by himself. He'll look to end that drama more definitively on Saturday.
Here's the leaderboard as it stands right now:
1. Pete Rose, 4256
2. Ty Cobb, 4191
3. Hank Aaron, 3771
4. Stan Musial, 3630
5. Tris Speaker, 3515
t-6. Honus Wagner, 3430
t-6. Derek Jeter, 3430
As for Friday, Jeter finished 1 for 4 with a run scored in New York's five-run first inning and a sacrifice bunt ahead Carlos Beltran's grand slam in the seventh. Yes, even on the verge of a career milestone, Jeter gave himself up for the good of the team. And, like usual, it paid off nicely for New York in a high-scoring 10-6 win over the Indians.
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