Monday, July 11, 2011

Jeter's Success Shines Light on Rose

It was an emotional moment in the Bronx on Saturday.  Derek Jeter emphatically delivered his 3,000th hit with a home run to deep left field as part of his 5-for-5 day at the plate. 

Magical.  Historic.  Overblown.  Call it what you want, but it helped fortify the legendary status of Jeter as an all-time great.

When the ball left the yard, 48,103 Yankee’s fans in attendance rejoiced.  But I…I had only one thought at that moment.  A seemingly illogical thought that no Yankees fan had the foresight to consider.

Pete Rose is amazing.

Before you bash me for poor timing, take a look below at a snapshot of the two future Hall of Fame careers (a bit presumptuous).

A few things pop out from this data.  Yes, Pete Rose has played 7+ seasons more than Jeter.  Yes, Jeter holds a better career batting average than Rose.  Those points cannot be argued (or won’t be today).
And honestly, I was a bit surprised to discover that, through the age of 36, these two shared very similar numbers (Jeter: 194.27 hits/season, Rose: 197.73 hits/season).
But that is where the comparison ends.  The chart below displays the year-by-year hit totals for the two players.
2011 has been a dreadful campaign for Jeter, who has battled injury and the pressures of reaching 3,000.  His will certainly establish a new career low in hits.  But how can you blame a guy who is 37 and in his 17th major league season?  That’s what happens to old people…or at least it should.

But Pete Rose defied the laws of aging.  Not only did Rose collect 208 hits at the age of 38, he also accumulated 1,092 hits after hitting that golden age.  It wasn’t until the age of 42 that Rose had a sub-140 hit season as Jeter is on pace to do this season. 
Few actually project that Jeter has much left in the tank.  Others speculate that the Yankees themselves may give up on Jeter before he is ready to go.  In a article by Joe Sheehan, Jeter is projected to collect another 322 hits in his career, placing him at 3,330 for his career and 11th on the career list.
But the truth is, no matter if or where Jeter plays in the coming seasons, it will be impossible for the aging shortstop to keep pace with Rose.  That's no knock on Jeter's career, but a testament to the durability of the best hitting catcher in baseball history.

No comments:

Post a Comment