Baseball, more than any other sport, is about reaching statistical milestones. Derek Jeter reached one the games loftiest, 3,000.
How'd he get there?
Spectacularly. The Captain oozes right place right time, and stylistically he couldn't have gotten to 3,000 in finer fashion then he did. Jeter went a perfect 5-5, including the game-winning knock. His actual 3,000th? The Yankee shortstop put a 3-2 David Price in the seats for his third home run of the season, joining Wade Boggs as the only other player to reach 3,000 on a HR.
Does 3,000 solidify Jeter's Yankee legacy?
With 12 All-Star appearances, 5 World Series Rings and 5 gold gloves and a WS MVP, Jeter's legacy wasn't exactly in jeopardy, but it definitely doesn't hurt to have it on the itinerary if someone living under a rock the past 15 years comes up for air. Jeter became the first Yankee to reach 3,000 hits in pinstripes, incredible when you consider the Bronx Bombers storied history that includes legends Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Joltin' Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Lou Gehrig and so on and so forth.
Where does Jeter rank on the list of greatest shortstops?
While some say his leadership, will to win and other intangibles make him the best SS to ever live, I believe that Jeter still resides outside of the top 3. Currently he rates a tier below Omar Vizquel, 13-time gold glover Ozzie Smith, iron man Cal Ripken Jr. and the greatest to ever play the position, Honus Wagner. Alex Rodriguez and Cubs legend Ernie Banks can make a pretty convincing argument for their inclusion above Jeter on the all-time list as well, but their position changes later in their career to 1B and 3B respectively, puts them a notch below Jeter. To see Fox Sports version of the 10 greatest shortstops of all time click here.
Yankee fan Christian Lopez caught the ball and admirably, his first thought was simply to give the ball back to Jeter, feeling that the ball belonged to the long time Yankee. ESPN.com's Mike Mazzeo goes into greater detail about what has become a rare act of generosity here
One things for sure, the classy future first ballot Hall of Famer does it the right way, and his place in Yankee fans hearts is as safe as ever.