New York Yankees' shortstop Derek Jeter made history when he moved into the Top Ten in all-time hits by himself in September, 2012. He ended the season with 216 hits to lead the Major Leagues, and he sits in 10th place with 3304 career hits. He is currently only 11 hits behind Eddie Collins (3315) for ninth place and 15 behind Paul Molitor (3319) for eighth.
After Jeter recovers from his fractured ankle that occurred in Game 1 of the 2012 American League Championship Series, Jeter will very easily pass Collins and Molitor, possibly within two to three weeks of playing his first regular-season game of 2013. The question is how long he will need to recover and whether or not he will begin the regular season with his team on Opening Day on April 1.
The good news happened on October 20. MLB.com's Adam Rosenbloom, Steven Miller, and Bryan Hoch reported that Jeter had surgery to repair the fracture, and all expectations from specialist Dr. Robert Anderson indicate that Jeter will be ready in mid-February, 2013. This is just after the opening of Spring Training and before the spring game schedule begins. This will allow Jeter to play his full spring schedule and be ready for Opening Day. If that happens as predicted, then Jeter could pass Molitor by mid to late April depending on how much he plays to start the season.
Next in line are Honus Wagner (#7) with 3415 hits and Carl Yastrzemski (#6) with 3419. Jeter needs 112 hits to pass Wagner and 116 to pass Yastrzemski. If Jeter could maintain his 2012 pace, then he could pass them right around the All-Star break. Of course, at a year older and after recovering from the injury and surgery, I doubt that he will keep that same pace, so it will more likely happen in late July or early August.
I predict Jeter to end 2013 at #6. He would need 210 hits to crack the top five by tying Tris Speaker at 3514. His 211th would give Jeter sole possession of fifth place. Getting 211 hits is tough enough for anyone - even one of the game's best ever -- especially at age 39 (by season's end). Jeter would have to play the entire season. Fortunately, he has the designated hitter slot available so he can keep hitting while taking a break from the field. If he is fully recovered from his fractured ankle, then he can get in the lineup nearly every day once again. Still, 211 hits is a tall order, but if anyone can do it, Jeter can.
Adam Rosenbloom, Steve Miller, and Bryan Hoch; Yankees Will Be Cautious in Jeter's Recovery; yankees.mlb.com, October 24, 2012.
Baseball Almanac, Career Leaders for Hits, baseball-almanac.com.
Major League Baseball, Sortable Player Statistics (Hitting), mlb.mlb.com.
New York Yankees, April 2013 Calendar, yankees.mlb.com.
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. 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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