I seriously doubt that anyone expects New York Yankees' superstar shortstop Derek Jeter to surpass Pete Rose as the Major Leagues' all-time hits leader, but Jeter continues to climb the ladder. On May 14, Jeter surpassed Hall-of-Fame shortstop and outfielder Robyn Yount for the 16th rung on the ladder. Very shortly before, he passed Tony Gwynn.
How many more hits would Jeter need to become the all-time leader? Pete Rose retired with 4,256 hits in 24 years, an average of approximately 177 hits per season. Jeter has 3,143 hits in 17 seasons for an average of 185. Of course, the average is skewed a very tiny bit due to partial seasons in 1995 and so far in 2012. However, if we consider just the average, then we can project the rest of Jeter's career.
Jeter turns 38 in June and still has another year left on his contract plus a player option for 2014. I expect him to play through at least 2015. Projecting his average of 185 hits for three more years would give him a total of approximately 3,700 hits - depending on his actual totals. If this projection holds true, then Jeter would retire on the fourth rung behind legends Rose (4,256), Ty Cobb (4,189), and Hank Aaron (3,771).
Obviously, projections are only estimates that do not consider injury, days off, or general player decline. I cannot truly predict Jeter's exact totals, nor can I predict exactly how many more years he will play. Even if he re-signs with the Yankees, how sure is it that he would play every day -- especially after age 40? I just hope he never plays for another team.
Jeter will continue to climb the all-time hits ladder for at least through 2013 for certain, hopefully beyond. The next three on the ladder are Paul Waner (3,152), George Brett (3,154), and Cal, Ripken, Jr. (3,184). Jeter is sure to pass Ripken for 13th place this season barring serious injury. He needs 41 more hits to do so entering play on May 15. A great season from May 15 on could get Jeter on the 12th rung (Nap Lajoie - 3,242) by the end of 2012.
Derek Jeter leads all active players in hits, and he has garnered every hit with one team. He will not pass Pete Rose, but I expect that he will keep climbing the ladder into the top ten and possibly into the top five. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching Derek Jeter display his talent on the field and his class on and off the field. I know that his playing career will end one day, but I hope not too soon.
Baseball Almanac, Career Leaders for Hits, baseball-almanac.com as of May 14, 2012.
Baseball Reference, Pete Rose Player Page, baseball-reference.com.
Bryan Hoch, Jeter Passes Yount with Hit No. 3143, yankees.mlb.com, May 14, 2012.
Raymond was born in Connecticut into a family spilt between the Red Sox and Yankees. Although he grew up in Florida, Raymond became a Yankees fan. He played baseball through high school and soon after became a varsity coach. He currently coaches Little League in Florida. Raymond previously produced radio sports talk shows and hosted a weekly MLB radio call-in show. Follow Raymond on Twitter @RayBureau
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- Sports & Recreation
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- Derek Jeter
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