The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


The greatest Yankee of them all?

Derek Jeter hits a historic milestone

On Friday, Derek Jeter, star shortstop of the New York Yankees, went 2-4 with an RBI against the Orioles, a solid performance but not particularly noteworthy. Except that the first of those hits, an outfield single, was the 2,722nd of his career. And that no Yankee has ever hit more than 2,721. And that the Yankee who had held that previous record had held it for over seven decades. And that Yankee happened to be named Lou Gherig.

Baseball is the most statistics-obsessed sport in the country, and there are all kinds of records being set and broken every day. Most are pretty obscure. I doubt, for instance, that even the most die-hard enthusiasts know that J.T. Snow holds the record for most sacrificed flies in a season by a left-handed hitter (14) or that Chipper Jones has the record for fewest assists in a season by a National League third baseman starting in at least 150 games (238). I was surprised to learn that the great Walter Johnson holds the American League record for most hit batters in a career with 205.

Other records, though, are the stuff of legend. Those going after them are subjected to all kinds of physical and mental stress.

Roger Maris lost clumps of hair in 1961 while chasing Babe Ruth’s iconic record of 60 homeruns in a single season. Thirteen years later, Hank Aaron broke Ruth’s career homerun record of 708 in the face of thousands of death threats.

Of course, Jeter is a long way away from beating Pete Rose’s 4,256 career hits, arguably the most impressive record in baseball. But it’s still an important milestone.

The Yankees are, without a doubt, the best team in baseball history. Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, and countless other baseball immortals have worn the Yankee pinstripes. Derek Jeter just outhit all of them.

Jeter’s achievement is all the more satisfying because it is Jeter’s. Over the past ten or so years, all kinds of records, once considered unbreakable, have fallen. In 1998, two players passed Maris’s 61 homeruns; Sammy Sosa ended the season with 66 and Mark McGwire a whopping 70.

Three years later, Barry Bonds outdid McGwire with 73 homeruns in a single season. Just two years ago, Bonds broke Aarons’s career record as well.

But the past decade has not been celebrated for its athletic achievements. Instead, it’s been written off, along with its records, as the era of baseball’s disgrace.

Huge numbers of the stars our generation grew up loving have been named as steroid-users. The list of the accused (and in many cases proven) includes McGwire, Sosa, Bonds, Roger Clemens, Manny Ramirez, Rafael Palmeiro, Curt Schilling, and Alex Rodriguez. The use of banned, performance-enhancing drugs appears to have been widespread if not rampant.

Derek Jeter is the most notable player whose achievements have not been-and hopefully never will be-tainted by the steroids scandal. This fact, along with his all-around clean-cut nature, has made him one of baseball’s most beloved and respected stars.

Congratulations, Derek.

Nathaniel French is a junior theater studies major. He can be reached for comment at [email protected]

More to Discover