Blog Entry

3 to Watch: The Jeter (and Pete Rose) edition

Posted on: June 5, 2011 8:11 pm
 
Pete Rose needed 2,370 games to get to 3,000 hits. Derek Jeter, 14 hits away from 3,000, has played in 2,350 games.

Pete Rose had just turned 37 when he got to 3,000 hits. Derek Jeter won't turn 37 until June 26.

We spend so much time talking about how old Derek Jeter is, how long he should play shortstop and how long he should lead off, and we forget that technically, he's still ahead of Pete Rose's pace.

"If there's one guy who could scare Pete, it's Derek," Chipper Jones said over the weekend. "If Derek can play five or so more years, he could definitely scare 4,000."

Before the Jeter-haters go crazy, this is not a prediction that Jeter is going to beat the Hit King. Rose was a .324 hitter when he got to 3,000; Jeter is at .260 after going 1-for-5 to get to 2,986 hits on Sunday in Anaheim.

But there are more comparisons than you'd think.

Here's one: Back in 1978, when Rose was chasing 3,000, the Reds considered it very important that he get there at home. Reds manager Sparky Anderson even suggested to reporters that he'd pull Rose from a road game, if necessary.

"I will not allow Pete Rose to do it anywhere but Cincinnati," Anderson said then. "I would not cheat those people. It's a must that he do it at home."

And he did.

Now Jeter and the Yankees come home, for 10 games starting Tuesday against the Red Sox. And now the pressure is on for Jeter to do it at home, too.

Obviously, it's not impossible that he will. Plenty of times in his career, Jeter has had 14 hits in 10 games.

Obviously, it's not a given that he will. Jeter hasn't had 14 hits in any 10-game span this year. And of the 14 players to reach 3,000 since Rose did it, only three -- Lou Brock in 1979, George Brett in 1992 and Paul Molitor in 1996 -- got the final 14 hits in as few as 10 games.

Rose, for what it's worth, needed just eight games to go from 2,986 to 3,000.

And then he needed another 1,192 games, over eight years, to go from 3,000 to 4,256.

When he got to 3,000, Rose said he wanted at least another 631, to break the National League record that then belonged to Stan Musial.

When he gets to 3,000, it's a safe bet that Jeter will not admit that he has any number in mind.

They're not the same. But for now, they are on the same pace.

On to 3 to Watch:

1. The Cubs are losing so often that no one asks anymore whether they can be part of the National League Central race. Instead, the talk when baseball people meet is about who will be the next Cubs general manager (Brian Cashman? Ned Colletti?). The Reds have lost 13 of their last 18 to fall a season-high 5 1/2 games behind the first-place Cardinals, but the talk there is about how they catch St. Louis. One answer may come in Cubs at Reds, Tuesday night (7:10 ET) at Great American Ball Park. Edinson Volquez is expected to return then from his two-week exile at Triple-A Louisville, and there's little question the Reds need him to come back and succeed.

2. It's looking like the biggest day of the Rangers season came two weeks ago, when Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz came off the disabled list. The Rangers, 10-16 in their last 26 games at that point, are 10-3 in their 13 games since. The Tigers would love to think that the return of Magglio Ordonez can give them a similar boost. Ordonez could come back in Tigers at Rangers, Tuesday night (8:05 ET) at Rangers Ballpark. If nothing else, it's a good spot for Ordonez's return. He has a .377 career average in 44 career games at the ballpark.

3. According to baseball-reference.com, Jeter has faced 1,163 different pitchers in his big-league career. Tops on the list, both in terms of most plate appearances (115) and most hits (31), is Tim Wakefield, the Boston starting pitcher in Red Sox at Yankees, Wednesday night (7:05 ET) at Yankee Stadium. Jeter's career average against Wakefield is just .287, below his career average of .313. Jeter also has 21 career hits against Josh Beckett, who starts Thursday, and 12 against Jon Lester, who starts Tuesday.


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3 to Watch: The Jeter (and Pete Rose) edition



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3 to Watch: The Jeter (and Pete Rose) edition




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