Sometime early next year, Derek Jeter will pass the magic 3,000-hit mark that makes most baseball players a lock for the Hall of Fame (although Jeter is already a lock). But Rob Neyer wonders if Jeter can pass Pete Rose (not in the Hall) for the all-time hits record, which stands at 4,256.
Neyer thinks the answer is No. By his calculations, Jeter will wind up with 3,692 hits, good for 4th place on the all-time hits list, behind Rose, Ty Cobb and Hank Aaron and ahead of Stan Musial. That's amazing company to keep, something that Jeter will surely appreciate.
But I hope Jeter sees Neyer's column. Although it's clearly not a criticism, Jeter thrives on challenges and might make it his mission to prove Neyer and any other doubters wrong. When people criticized his defense, Jeter worked hard on improving his range and flexibility and was rewarded with another Gold Glove.
Former Yankee great Paul O'Neill said that Jeter is the most confident player he's ever played with, except for maybe Pete Rose. Jeter's never been about personal stats, but he is incredibly competitive. If the Yankee Captain feels he has a chance to catch Rose, he will go after him with everything he has.
Thanks to Keith Allison via Wikipedia for the photo.