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One Last Record
2008-09-16 20:14
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Last night, Andy Pettitte had one bad inning, the bullpen couldn't hold the line, the offense couldn't break through, and the Yankees lost 6-2. Sing me a new song.

Untitled
Over the last 14 years, Jeter has helped fill those empty seats behind him.
As early as tomorrow this game will be remembered for just one reason. In the bottom of the first inning, Derek Jeter hit a hard grounder to third base on the first pitch he saw from White Sox starter Gavin Floyd. Sox third baseman Juan Uribe was playing in and dropped to one knee in an attempt to backhand the ball. Instead it shot through his legs. Jeter was awarded a hit, which pushed him past Lou Gehrig as the man with the most hits in the history of Yankee Stadium. It looked like an error to me, but Jeter made that irrelevant with a single in the fifth.

I mocked the attention lavished on Jeter for passing Babe Ruth for second on the Yankees' all-time hit list, and YES's coverage of last night's hit and the hits leading up to it--particularly Michael Kay's call of the hit ("Hit or error? Error or history?")--was every bit as over-the-top if not moreso, but I actually think this record is pretty nifty. For one thing, it's an actual record. For another, as Kay histrionically pointed out on the broadcast, it's a record that can't be broken. Sure, Gehrig had far fewer at-bats at the old Yankee Stadium than Jeter has had in the remodeled one, but there's a purity and an absoluteness to "the most ever" that even applies to Barry Bonds.

Best of all, this is a record that honors not just the man who broke it, but the Stadium in which it was achieved. Yankee Stadium will go dark for good six days from now, but though there will never again be a meaningful game played in the old yard, and the Yankees as an organization have completely punted the opportunity to do something special for the final season of baseball's most significant ballpark, Jeter was able to give us one last piece of history, and a private kind of history at that. For all of the great performances, accomplishments, and players who have graced the field on the southwest corner of 161st and River Ave over the past 86 years, the player who got more hits on that piece of real estate than anyone else ever has or ever will is Derek Jeter. I think that's pretty cool.

Comments
2008-09-16 21:50:03
1.   thelarmis
i think it's pretty cool, too! i might be mistaken, but i think tomorrow will be derek's 1,000th game at The Stadium. that's pretty cool, too.

if pettitte wins his last start there on saturday - and, that's a big "if," at this point - i believe it'll be his 95th victory there...

hopefully hughes throws a nice game and moose picks up #18. even if the games are 'meaningless,' i still want the yankees to win. i always want the yankees to win. always.

ah, i guess that'll act as a cue for the draft pick committee! ; ) still, i just always want the yanks to win...

2008-09-16 21:51:01
2.   Eric Stephen
Congratulations to an all-time Yankee great.
2008-09-16 22:16:14
3.   Schteeve
I think it's cool too. I also have to say, that I really am disgusted by the cynicism a lot of Yankee fans seem to show towards Jeter.

I'm not sure you could ask for a better guy to root for day in and day out. Is he perfect, of course not, neither is anyone else. Is he overrated? Well if you look at it clinically, all pro athletes are overrated. We lavish far more attention upon them than they deserve. But aesthetically, emotionally, nobody can say he's overrated, it's in the eye of the beholder.

I just wish we weren't sooooo quick to find fault with our heroes. Usually heroes do the work for us if we give them enough time. Can't we be happy that Derek hasn't?

2008-09-16 22:36:10
4.   Schteeve
Also, what's the difference in PA, as opposed to AB?
2008-09-17 03:36:15
5.   williamnyy23
I don't think ABs are as relevant as PAs in determining the amount of opportunities to get hits. We know Jeter has had 4478 PAs at the Stadium. I can't find Gehrig's total, but half of his career 9660 PAs would be 4830. So, it stands to reason that Gehrig actually had more chances to get hits at YS than Jeter, which kind of makes sense because Gehrig played 81 more games at the old place.

That minor point aside, I think Jeter's accomplishment is very nice, even YES went overboard with it. Then again, if you've ever listened to Kay describe a HR call late in a game in which the Yankees are trailing by 10 runs, that shouldn't surprise anyone.

2008-09-17 03:42:40
6.   williamnyy23
I thought Damon had a great quote (from LoHud):

"The best organization around, in my mind," Damon said. "This team has always taken care of their players. It's a great accomplishment for Derek."

Damon was talking about Jeter being a rare example of playing a career with one team, but I think his embedded point was interesting. Coming from the Red Sox, a team notorious for not taking care of their players, Damon has an interesting perspective on this. While ultimately it may be a competitive disadvantage, the Yankees have always showed a willingness to overpay "their guys". The Yankees under Steinbrenner have been accused of a lot of things, but one thing the organization has usually done is take care of its own. I kind of like that.

2008-09-17 05:01:01
7.   Just fair
Jeter would have passed Gehrig long ago if not for his affinity for bunting with a guy on first. D'oh.
Congrats to the Captain. People tend to talk about wanting to have been in such and such place to see such and such thing. Well, we just saw something grand. I wouldn't get too wrapped up over the the hype machine. It is an immovable monster that that will only get bigger.
2008-09-17 05:42:18
8.   Knuckles
It's a nice record to highlight as the Yanks play out the string. For all the cynics out there, every team would ooh and ahh over these types of sepia toned memories. Hell, most teams don't have them, and that, as much as all the championships, is what makes the Yankees the Yankees.
2008-09-17 05:49:04
9.   Sonya Hennys Tutu
I totally agree 6 and for me the recurring example of this is the way it seems like half the players in recent memory are hired every year as "special instructors" in spring training. They always struck me as "we like to have these guys around" kind of hires.

I know that those invites are not big money, and in fact they may essentially simply be all-expenses paid vacations. But still. It's nice. And speaks to the organization taking care of its own.

2008-09-17 06:00:42
10.   OldYanksFan
6 Tis true William. The Yankees are rich enough to afford to be generous. People make fun of our payroll, but a LOT of money is spent on long, non-cost efficient contracts to maintain/hold on to players who are true Yankees, who us fans really care about.

Bernie's contract went south at the end. Jeter's might too. Probably Posada's. Maybe Riveria's. Certainly ARod's. Maybe even Phil Hughes'. But this is a benefit that Yankee fans enjoy. To see the same guys, OUR guys, out there year after year.

After all, don't WE want to make a lot of money to spend on our children? This is a unique luxury that few, if any teams can afford. Even the Sox will dump Pedro and JD and Nomar and others to be more 'efficient'. Our business model is a bit different, and as a fan, I'm really glad.

Big money and free agency have changed the game a lot since I was a kid. Not sayin' it's better or worse, but these days, fans can't afford to get too attached to 'their' players. I wonder if fans in Chicago would have liked to see The Big Hurt play out his years there. Many other icons get dumped as soon as they are 'no longer worth it'.

But worth can't always be measured in dollars.
I'm glad I'm a Yankees fan.

2008-09-17 06:22:42
11.   Alex Belth
Good call, Cliff, I agree, and think it's cool too. Sometimes all of the hype Jeter gets makes it problematic for me to feel great about rooting for him, but I do love the guy as a player, and as a Yankee. Nifty record.
2008-09-17 06:32:07
12.   Simone
Congrats to Derek! Really nice that he got that record at the soon to be old Stadium.
2008-09-17 06:50:27
13.   Chyll Will
4 Long story short, At Bats (AB) don't count BBs (walks), since they are not officially an at-bat, but they do count as plate attempts.
2008-09-17 06:51:34
14.   Start Spreading the News
5 Gehrig took walks a lot more frequently than Jeter does. In 162 game avg, Gehrig walked 113 times. Jeter walks 67 times. That leads to a big difference in ABs as well. In 2164 games, Gehrig had 8001 at bats whereas in 1978 games, Jeter already has 8004 at bats.
2008-09-17 07:10:43
15.   Dimelo
YES should just let Kay start his winter break early. He's worse than McCarver or Buck, IMHO.
2008-09-17 07:23:29
16.   williamnyy23
14 Absolutely, but Gehrig (and every other player) gets due credit for walks. Because we are talking about a "hit" record, it is fair to say that Jeter passed Gehrig with fewer chances. Now, you could argue that shouldn't we then be more interested in who has the record for most times reaching base (or total bases) in Yankee Stadium? Well, YES, we should, but that's another story.
2008-09-17 07:51:10
17.   Bob B
Any ideas of something to do on Sunday before the game? I'm trying to think of something besides stopping in at Stan's for a beer, but I was hoping to find something different and out of the ordinary. After all these years you would think I'd have an idea. Going to go very early even with the 8:00 start since I think everyone is thinking the same thing.
2008-09-17 08:04:47
18.   ms october
interesting discussion today.
at first i too was kind of like this record is getting a bit more hype than it should - but i think it is nice on several fronts. i think cliff put it nicely that this was a record that was about yankee stadium as well as jeter. and as many have pointed out, there really isn't a modern era player of jeter's stature that is so associated with one team the way derek is with the yanks.
and certainly if/when wrigley or fenway close down there is no one current on those teams but probably even in the future that will have the same significance to those ballparks and franchises that derek has.

10 nicely said oyf. even with all the slights or bruised egos over the year there is something to the concept of the yankee family that really sets the yankees apart and is something i appreciate.

17 not sure what you consider out of the ordinary or if you are a museum person - but could go to the bronx museum on the consourse at 165. they have an exhibit on street art and street life - though this would have been a great opportunity to do something about yankees stadium and the south bronx.

2008-09-17 08:36:07
19.   dianagramr
A friend of mine from my tournament Scrabble circle is also the guy who has collected over 3,000 baseballs from around the majors.

He's got a blog all about it on mlb.com.

Anyhow, he was the guy who caught Giambi's homer last night, and did the dorky dance that Kay and Flaherty commented on.

(1:30 into this video.)

http://mlb.mlb.com/media/video.jsp?mid=200809173491358

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