The 3,000th Shot Heard ’round The World

East titles… and now one 3,000 hit club member.

Derek Jeter has always done big things on the diamond with a little bit of flair. Whether it’s the infamous “Flip-play” against the Oakland A’s in thhe 2001 playoffs, or a game-winning home run off Byun-Yun Kim in the ’01 Fall Classic at midnight to begin November, or even diving into the stands for a foul ball down the third-base line in the ’04 season against Boston (and one in the 2001 ALDS), the second captain in Yankees history has never disappointed.

Even after starting his big-league career 0-for-6. And having career-hit number 2,000 come as a dribbler down the third base line.

So to have career-hit number 3,000 come as a solo home run (just his third of the 2011 season) in Saturday’s win over the Tampa Bay Rays should come to no surprise to anyone who’s witnessed the soon-to-be hall-of-fame career of the Yankee shortstop. Not to mention the fact that he also went 5-for-5 at the plate with hit 2,999 coming as a single, 3,001 coming as a double and knotched the go-ahead single in the eighth with the infield in.

By the way, to top the subject of “irony”, hit 3,000 came at exactly 2:00 p.m EST. With not just all of Yankee Stadium cheering, but all of new York City.

All in all, Jeter-esque.

Also for the record, it took him just 2,362 games and 9,604 at-bats to reach 3,000 hits, making him seventh fastest and 10th fastest in Major League history to reach the milestone, respectively.

But there’s more to “DJ3K” than just the career hit itself.

Jeter becomes just the 28th player in Major League history with 3,000 hits, the 14th player to do it all with one team, the fourth youngest player to do so, just the third shortstop in MLB history, the second to do it on a home run (Wade Boggs) and the first Yankee in the prestigious club.

Despite all of the great hitters in Yankee history such as Babe Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, Maris, Munson, Jackson, Bernie Williams, Jeter is the only one in the pinstripes to hit 3,000.

“It means a lot,” Jeter said. “It’s a number that has meant a lot in the history of the game, because not too many people have done it before. To be the only Yankee to do it … to be the only Yankee to do anything is pretty special.”

Despite the five World Series rings (including that extravegent 2009 ring), 12 All-Star selections, five Gold-Gloves, and an All-Star and World Series MVP, hit 3,000 is also another result of the relentless consistency Jeter has preached and exhibited throughout his career.

And by consistency, I mean consistency. Numerous singles, doubles, a few triples, even through the steroid-filled home run era (Jeter has 237 career home runs to date) and the expansion era of the 90’s.

3,000 hits in a career that includes 5 world series titles with one of the most prestigious baseball, let alone sports franchises in history and numberous individual awards.

Make that 3,003 career hits to date. Not too shabby for a kid out of Pequannock, New Jersey.

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