In 2012, Jeter has been padding his resume, reaching multiple less-heralded, but still notable, career milestones. With the season still nascent, he has reached 1,000 walks, 500 doubles and, most recently, 10,000 at-bats.
It started on April 28 against Detroit Tigers’ rookie pitcher Drew Smyly. In the bottom of the third inning of that mid-afternoon matchup, the 37-year-old shortstop patiently waited as the count rose to 3-2. Smyly’s eighth pitch was wayward, missing the plate and allowing Jeter to take first base for the 1,000th walk of his career.
About a week later, on May 3, the Yankees were playing the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Facing Danny Duffy in his second at-bat of the game, Mr. November ripped a worm-burner down the third-base line, past a diving Mike Moustakas. Jeter easily strolled into second base for his 500th double.
He went into New York’s May 10 game just three at-bats away from 10,000—a mark reached by only 25 other players, ever. In the bottom of the sixth inning against Tampa Bay Rays’ pitcher David Price, he reached the milestone, grounding out softly in his history-making at-bat.
Only one other active player has at least 10,000 at-bats, and that is 45-year-old fellow shortstop Omar Vizquel. Five others have at least 500 doubles and nine others have at least 1,000 walks. It is easy to see that Jeter is in the upper echelon of active ballplayers, but even that is an understatement.
Throughout the annals of major league history, tens of thousands of individuals have donned a big league uniform and played in a regular-season game. Only 17 of them, including greats Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays, have reached the 1,000 walk, 500 double and 10,000 at-bat pinnacles. And Jeter is the only shortstop to have met all three.
Yet he’s still not done—he currently sits only five home runs away from 250 and within 50 of 2,500 career games. Incredibly, he could easily reach two more milestones by the time the 2012 season is over.
Yankees' fans and baseball fans in general: Appreciate what you’ve witnessed during Jeter’s legendary 18-year career. A player such as Jeter doesn’t come around very often.