If, someday in the future, a literal million of Derek Jeter enthusiasts claim to have been at the game(s) when he tied or surpassed Hall of Fame shortstop Honus Wagner on Major League Baseball's all-time hit list, it might not be much of an exaggeration. Because of a scoring change 11 days after the fact, Jeter's infield single against right-hander Trevor Bauer and the Cleveland Indians on Aug. 8 is now an error.
Objectively, it was an error all of the way on Carlos Santana and should have been called as such. Bizarre scoring decision, originally. It's also bizarre that the issue took so long to resolve. Twenty four hours should have been long enough to make it just and official. In the end, Jeter's place in history on the all-time hit list is secure, but how this moment in his final season was recorded also has been messed up forever.
All of this was significant because, as The Stew reported at the time, the first hit in the sequence tied Jeter with Wagner for sixth place in history with 3,430. Instead, an infield single the next day against Corey Kluber and the Indians — thought to be the hit that surpassed Wagner — is now the tying hit.
Finally, the hit that actually pushed Jeter beyond Wagner happened in a game Aug. 11 against the Orioles — a funny looking double against Bud Norris. The peculiar part about it, of course: Nobody at the time realized the hit against Norris had any historical significance. After all, Jeter already had surpassed Wagner.
This is why baseball is the best game and, definitely, the nerdiest. It's like all of us who care have become Kurt Vonnegut characters, unstuck in time. And none of this would have happened without Bauer raising an objection. He's the one who filed an appeal with MLB to get the ruling changed. And he did for a very good reason:
Bauer's ERA goes from 4.35 to 4.18 after scoring change gave Santana an E3 and took away a hit from Jeter on Aug. 8. #Indians.— paul hoynes (@hoynsie) August 19, 2014
Not only was it the right course of action — Jeter's hit against Bauer wasn't a really a hit — but it was right of Bauer to stand up for himself. Players get graded — and paid — based on service time and performance. Jeter's hit was costing Bauer, and it wasn't right.
The Yankees broadcast crew, notably Michael Kay, couldn't understand that point of view, even though they also acknowledge that the first hit should have been an error. It's just, the changes mess up the historical recording of it all. Kay's calls on TV, congratulating Jeter, have been made moot. And Jeter, though it's not like he lacks proper recognition for his myriad accomplishments, is "robbed" of a proper Honus Wagner Surpassing Ceremony. Or something like that.
Baseball bookkeeping prefers to be tidy, and this is not.
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