|Jeter photo courtesy of Getty Images|
Yesterday, the Yankee Captain Derek Jeter went 2 for 4 against the Kansas City Royals bringing his career total to 2962 hits. In the process he passed the legendary Hall of Famer Sam Crawford (2961 hits) for sole possession of 29th place on the all-time list. Jeter, who got off to a slow start, has quietly risen his batting average to .283 with a solid month of May thus far. So for now the nagging questions about his slump have, for the most part, quieted down.
As for his march to 3000-- next on the list-- Hall of Famer Sam Rice with 2987 hits.
Rice, who played for the Washington Senators from 1915 to 1933, has the highest hit total for any player NOT to reach 3000 hits. He was a pivotal member of the 1924 World Champion Senators team and of the 1925 & 1933 American League Champions Senators teams. During his career he had 13 seasons with a .300+ BA and 6 seasons with 200+ hits. Rice played his final major league season in 1934 with the Cleveland Indians. Years after his retirement Rice was asked about being 13 measly hits short of the milestone, and replied, "The truth of the matter is I did not even know how many hits I had. Nowadays, with radio and television announcers spouting records every time a player comes to bat, I would have known about my hits and probably would have stayed to make 3,000 of them."
Rice was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1963.
So Jeter is now 28 hits shy of passing Rice for sole possession of 28th place on the all-time list and then it's off to the milestone.
And sitting in 27th place is the immortal Roberto Clemente with 3000 hits on the dot. Once Jeter ties Clemente he will become the 28th member of the 3000 hit club, and who knows, 4000 may just be in his future as he is neck-and-neck with all-time hits leader Pete Rose (4256 hits) at this same point in Rose's career.
Rice bio courtesy of Wikipedia