On Sunday afternoon, Derek Jeter smacked a pair of hits to help the Yankees to a 6-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. And while Jeter’s contributions may not have won his team the game, they did help the Yankee legend accomplish a little history. That pair of singles earned Jeter hits #3,319 and #3,320 of his career, which bumped him past Paul Molitor for 9th on the all-time hit list.
Jeter acknowledged the accomplishment after the game, saying “It’s special. I grew up watching Paul. I played against him briefly. I have a lot of respect for him, for his career. Any time you talk about eighth in anything, it’s special.”
In many ways, that respect and reverence for Molitor’s game shine’s through in Jeter’s. Both player’s grew up in the northern United States (Molitor in Minnesota, Jeter in Michigan) rather than the hotbeds of baseball in California, Florida, Georgia, or Texas. Molitor actually came through the minor leagues as a shortstop before making the transition to 2nd base during his 1st season.
At the plate the comparison is even more remarkable. Both Jeter and Molitor hit over 500 doubles, 200 homers, and both drove in around 1300 runs while hitting at or near the top of the lineup. They both posted high batting averages and excellent on-base percentages throughout their illustrious careers, and most importantly both the Captain and the Ignitor played their best baseball on the biggest stage.
Big thanks to my lovely girlfriend Shannon for the awesome Paul Molitor graphic!