Nothing lifts morale among fans and teammates quite like the long-awaited arrival of a player's milestone.
Days prior to Derek Jeter's 3000th hit, fans, teammates and family waited anxiously for Jeter to hit his 3,000th ball and advance towards first base. However, everyone got more than they bargained for, as Jeter slammed his 3,000th hit into the stands for an unforgettable home run.
As Derek Jeter ran home his fans cheered, his teammates anxiously greeted their captain with hugs and applause, and his family watched from the stands tearful and proud.
Whether we have witnessed other Yankee milestones in the past, or have learned about baseball greats who have set the bar for the players today, witnessing and learning about a player who has reached a long-awaited milestone instills pride and joy, making us the diehard New York Yankee fans we are today.
Here is Derek Jeter and the eight greatest milestones in Yankee history.
On June 13th, 2003 Roger Clemens completed two feats in one game, becoming the 21st pitcher in baseball history to win 300 games and striking out the 4,000th batter of his career.
In the 5-2 Yankee win against the St. Louis Cardinals, Clemens allowed only two runs, two walks and struck out 10. Entering the prestigious 300-win club along with greats such as Cy Young, Clemens today ranks ninth with 354 wins. Roger Clemens' milestone was a significant day in Yankee history which will never be forgotten.
Only 35 years old at the time, Alex Rodriguez completed a feat only accomplished by seven players before him. However, there is one thing that makes this milestone more significant than any other player who has reached it: A-Rod was the youngest player to hit 600 home runs.
In a game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Alex Rodriguez blasted a two-run home run to center field during the first inning of the game, reaching the 600th home run mark.
This prestigious club includes greats such as Barry Bonds, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Sammy Sosa and more. Before A-Rod, Babe Ruth was the youngest baseball player in history to reach his 600th home run at the age of 36. He would later go on to reach his 700th home run, a record A-Rod is most likely to meet and surpass.
Like Roger Clemens, Mariano Rivera did not reach one milestone in his career—he reached two in one night.
On Sunday June 28th, 2009, Mariano Rivera proved he is the greatest closer in baseball by reaching his 500th career save, a milestone only Trevor Hoffman has reached before him. Not only did Rivera record his 500th save, but his first RBI, as Francisco Rodriguez walked Rivera with the bases loaded during the top of the ninth inning, aiding the Yankees' comfortable 4-2 lead.
Not only is Rivera known for his consistent and reliable pitching during the season, but during the postseason as well, as Rivera has aided the Yankees through wins, pennants and World Series championships. Mariano Rivera's legendary 500th save milestone is a moment in Yankees history that fans will never forget, as Yankee fans are waiting for Rivera to make another soon, his 600th save.
Seventy-two years ago, Lou Gehrig did something many baseball players today wouldn't have the respect to do.
Realizing his inability to perform to his highest ability was only harming his beloved team, Gehrig took himself out of the Yankee lineup on May 2nd, ending his streak of 2,130 consecutive games.
His 2,130th game was the last game Gehrig would ever play in. He was soon after diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Weeks later, Gehrig made his famous farewell speech, which represented hope and inspiration. His legendary speech would stay in the hearts of Yankee fans forever.
Till this very day, no baseball player has ever been able to break Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak.
With the Yankees unable to compete against the Boston Red Sox, beginning the season in a slump as Ted Williams led the powerful Boston team, Joe DiMaggio stepped in and aided the Yankees in their time of need. Not only did DiMaggio lead the Yankees to the playoffs, but to the World Series, where he received the Most Valuable Player Award.
"The Streak" as it is called, began on May 15th, 1941. Because of Chicago White Sox third baseman Ken Keltner, DiMaggio's streak ended on July 17th. With a .409 batting average, Dimaggio's dominance and ability to make history that season brought the Yankees to a World Series victory.
When a baseball player reaches or surpasses a record, fans join together as they cheer, applaud and rejoice in excitement. This unfortunately was not the outcome of Roger Maris' single-season record of 61 home runs in 1961.
Roger Maris excelled as a player in 1961 and instead of receiving the recognition he deserved by fans and the media, he was abused, being known as, "The man who took away Babe Ruth's record." As Maris hit his 61st home run, a home run many hoped would be hit by the beloved Mickey Mantle or never hit at all, the crowed cursed and booed, as the media tainted his name, as if he committed a crime.
The abuse Maris faced throughout the year caused the hitter to not only suffer from hair loss due to stress, but fear, as Maris received death threats for breaking the record 37 years later. Commissioner Ford Frick added to the turmoil as he announced that Maris' record did not compare to Ruth's, as Maris did not complete the home runs in 154 games like Ruth had.
Maris was blamed for taking away Ruth's record, but what many people failed to acknowledge was that Maris did not take anything away from anyone—he tried to make a record of his own.
Is Andy Pettitte Hall of Fame material?
Many have argued the answer to this question and although his overall career ERA (3.88) is not as noteworthy as others, it is his miraculous postseason success that can land him a spot in this coveted hall.
The southpaw, who spent a majority of his career on the Yankees, was the first and only baseball player in history to reach 19 playoff wins. When Pettitte announced that he would no longer return to the field, many feared that the Yankees had lost the key to their multiple playoff victories. This is the Yankees' first season without the ace in years and it is not going to be an easy feat to advance in the playoffs without him.
Andy Pettitte has a postseason ERA of 3.83 and has brought the Yankees to five World Series wins.
Dedicating his entire 17-season career to the New York Yankees, Derek Jeter will be a Hall of Famer, a legend and most of all, one of the greatest baseball players in history.
Derek Jeter has gained a large amount of respect from teammates and fans over the years, receiving nicknames such as Captain Clutch and Mr. November due to his duties on and off the field. Jeter has always put his team first and has aided them in every way possible, bringing them to five World Series Championships.
When Derek Jeter passed Babe Ruth on the all-time hits list, he was on his way to No. 3,000, a feat that has only been accomplished by 27 players before him. On July 9th, 2011 Jeter become the only Yankee to reach this long-awaited milestone.
Although many believe Jeter may soon be finished as a player due to his decreasing performance and his age, Jeter still has a successful career ahead of him. He will continue to break records, reach milestones and make everyone around him proud.
Only three baseball players have entered the 700 home run club and one of those players is considered the greatest player in baseball history. That player is none other than Babe Ruth.
Not only has the Great Bambino set the bar for many records, but he has led the Yankees to seven pennant wins and four World Series victories. Ruth is not only known for his records and prestige performance as a hitter, but as the man who changed the game of baseball forever.
Ruth ended his 22-season career with a .342 batting average. In his career he had 2,174 runs, 2,873 hits and 714 home runs. Although Ruth has been surpassed in home runs, hits and other records, he is still considered the greatest baseball player to this very day. He helped make the New York Yankees the greatest baseball franchise that it is today.