Derek Jeter: Ageless Wonder Finishes 2012 Season with Most Hits in Baseball

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistOctober 4, 2012

So much for Derek Jeter being over the hill—the New York Yankees shortstop finished 2012 with the most hits in baseball at the ripe old age of 38 with 216, which was 11 more than the Triple Crown-winning Miguel Cabrera, who finished with 205.

As if he needed another bullet point on his Hall of Fame resume. 

But this achievement is even more impressive when you put it in historical perspective. Check out this intriguing tidbit by the Elias Sports Bureau (via ESPN) after Jeter reached 212 hits on Sept. 30:

With that knock, Jeter broke Ty Cobb's record for the most hits in a season by a player who entered the year with 3,000 or more career hits. Cobb had 211 hits under those circumstances in both 1922 and 1924. Jeter's 212th hit of the season was also the 3,300th hit of his career. Among the 10 players who've reached that milestone, only Cobb (age 36 in 1923) got there at a younger age than Jeter (38 years, 96 days).

Anytime you are mentioned in the same breath as Ty Cobb, that's pretty special. Well, unless someone is saying you are as mean as the Georgia Peach was, in which case he's not the sort of guy you want to find yourself being compared to.

But I digress. Given Jeter's statistical output this season, you could argue that he's been the best shortstop in baseball, though I'm sure Ian Desmond fans will make a compelling case as well.

Wherever you fall on that particular debate, there is no questioning just how amazing his production continues to be in the latter portions of his career. Sure, he's lost a step fielding his position and doesn't have great range, but he can still rake with the best of them.

While Jeter has been clutch in September for the Yankees as they pursued a postseason berth, his best month of the season was in August, when he hit .350 with six home runs, 16 RBI and scored 25 runs. He's certainly saved his best for the Bronx Bombers down the stretch.

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Congratulations to Jeter on another fantastic season. Let's take a look at this year's leaders in hits, starting with the American League leaders:

Player Team Hits
 Derek Jeter  New York Yankees  216
 Miguel Cabrera   Detroit Tigers  205
 Robinson Cano  New York Yankees  196
 Adrian Beltre  Texas Rangers  194
 Billy Butler  Kansas City Royals  192
 Alex Gordon  Kansas City Royals  189
 Adam Jones  Baltimore Orioles   186
 Alex Rios  Chicago White Sox  184
 Prince Fielder  Detroit Tigers  182
 Mike Trout  Los Angeles Angels  182

And here are your National League leaders:

Player Team Hits
 Andrew McCutchen  Pittsburgh Pirates  194
 Ryan Braun  Milwaukee Brewers  191
 Marco Scutaro  Colorado Rockies/ San Francisco Giants   190
 Martin Prado  Atlanta Braves  186
 Jose Reyes  Miami Marlins  184
 Aaron Hill  Arizona Diamondbacks   184
 Starlin Castro  Chicago Cubs  183
 David Wright  New York Mets  178
 Buster Posey   San Francisco Giants  178
 Matt Holliday  St. Louis Cardinals  177

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