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Derek Jeter Is No. 1

Colin LinneweberSenior Writer ISeptember 16, 2009

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 11:  Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees celebrates his single to right field in the third inning during a game against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium on September 11, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Jeter's hit was his 2,722nd, passing Lou Gehrig's all-time club record of 2,721.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

New York Yankees icon Derek Jeter moved past Lou Gehrig on the Bombers all-time hits list on Sept. 11 with a single to right field in the Bronx.

“It’s still hard to believe,” said Jeter, 35, who has recorded 2,727 career hits since he made his debut with the Yankees in 1995. “Being a Yankee fan, this is something I never imagined. Your dream is always to play for the team, and once you get here, you just want to stay and be consistent. This wasn’t a part of it. This whole experience has been overwhelming.”

Ailing Yankees owner George Steinbrenner issued a statement congratulating Jeter on the amazing feats he has accomplished since he first donned pinstripes.

“For those who say today’s game can’t produce legendary players, I have two words: Derek Jeter,” Steinbrenner said of the three-time Gold Glove Award winner at shortstop who played a vital role in the Yankees' last four championships.

“Game in and game out, he just produces. As historic and significant as becoming the Yankees all-time hits leader is, the accomplishment is all the more impressive because Derek is one of the finest young men playing the game today. That combination of character and athletic ability is something he shares with the previous record-holder, Lou Gehrig.

"It adds to the pride that the Yankees and our fans feel today. Every Yankees’ era has its giants. It’s thrilling to watch Derek as he becomes one of the greats of his generation, if not all-time."

Jeter, a 10-time All-Star selection and the 1996 American League Rookie of the Year, was picked by the Yankees with the sixth overall selection in the 1992 Major League Baseball Draft.

When “Mr. November” first manned the shortstop position at the old Yankee Stadium, he was a precocious 21-year-old kid who had the “Big Apple” at his feet.

In this day and age of degenerate, disgusting, and indulgent athletes, Jeter’s ability to veer away from potential temptations and pitfalls in a city like Gotham is nearly as remarkable as his exploits on the diamond.

Jeter, who in 2000 became the only player to win both the All-Star Game MVP and the World Series MVP Award in the same season, is a remarkable and superior talent who personifies professionalism.

“It was a special moment for me,” said the Yankees team captain, who is currently batting .332 and is in the thick of MVP discussions. “It’s a special moment for the organization. To get to share it with my teammates was a lot of fun.”

Jeter, one of the greatest winners in the history of sports, quickly added, “Now we can get back to playing games and trying to win games.”

It’s safe to predict that Jeter will continue to win games for a long while and he will undoubtedly do so with the class that we’ve come to expect of him.

In layman’s terms, No. 2 is now officially No. 1.

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