Results tagged ‘ Snuffy Stirnweiss ’
For those who thought Derek Jeter’s 200-hit seasons were well behind him, think again. The Captain rapped a single to center off Blue Jays lefthander Ricky Romero for his 200th hit of the season.
It marked the eighth time DJ has gone two-ding-ding in hits, taking control of the club record for 200-hit seasons that he had shared with Lou Gehrig. The only active major-league player with more 200-hit seasons than Jeter is his teammate, Ichiro Suzuki, who reached the plateau in 10 consecutive seasons (2001-10) with the Mariners.
Jeter got to 200 hits in his 145th game (and the Yankees’ 148th), which matches the earliest he has reached that level, in 1999 and 2009. He is seeking to become the first Yankees player to lead the American League in hits since Alfonso Soriano had 209 in 2002 when he also had the highest total in the major leagues.
Jeter led the majors in hits with 219 in 1999 and could become the first Yankees player to be the major-league leader in hits in multiple seasons. Entering play Wednesday night, Jeter had a 10-hit lead over Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera in the AL and was 18 hits up on the National League leader, Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen.
Other Yankees players to have led the majors in hits other than Jeter and Soriano were third baseman Red Rolfe with 213 in 1939, second baseman Snuffy Stirnweiss with 205 in 1944 and first baseman Don Mattingly with 238 in 1986.
Derek Jeter’s leadoff single to right field Wednesday night off Cliff Lee was career hit No. 2,877 for the Yankees shortstop and captain, and it was a big deal.
Coming in the same week in which Jeter passed Babe Ruth on the career list, this time he pushed ahead of Mel Ott and in so doing now has the most hits of any player while playing for a New York team, not just the Yankees but also the Mets and the former New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers. That covers a lot of territory.
Not all of the Babe’s 2,873 hits were for the Yankees. He also played for both Boston teams, the Red Sox and the Braves. In Ott’s case, all of his 2,876 hits were with the Giants in a 22-season career spanning 1926 to 1947. No player wearing a New York uniform had more hits than Ott, a record he held for 63 years until Wednesday night.
Just last year, Jeter surpassed Lou Gehrig as the Yankees’ franchise hit leader, which was rarified air enough. Now this. Think about the long history of major league baseball in New York City, much richer than even the supposed hot beds of St. Louis and Boston, and now Derek Jeter stands heads and shoulders over all the hit makers.
There are 203 players in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Of that total, 92 played a portion of their careers for at least one of the New York teams. The city has seen some of the greatest hitters ever, from the Babe and Lou to Joe DiMaggio and Jackie Robinson, from Willie (Mays), Mickey (Mantle) and the Duke (Snider), on to Don Mattingly and Keith Hernandez.
Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio and Mantle all won batting titles as did fellow Yankees Snuffy Stirnweiss, Paul O’Neill and Bernie Williams. Other batting champions in New York were the Dodgers’ Robinson, Jake Daubert, Zack Wheat, Pete Reiser, Dixie Walker and Carl Furillo and the Giants’ Mays, Larry Doyle and Bill Terry, the last National League player to hit .400 (.401 in 1930). No Mets player has led the league in batting, but Dave Magadan and John Olerud came close.
Ott won no batting titles, either, even though he was a career .304 hitter. Ott’s specialty was the long ball. His total of 511 was the NL record for 20 years before Mays passed him in 1966. Ott led the league in home runs six times, and the NL trophy for the annual home run champion is named after him. He also had 488 doubles and 72 triples and hit .295 with four homers and 10 RBI in 16 World Series games.
Ott would have fit very well into today’s game as an on-base specialist. He led the NL in walks six times, walked more than 100 times in 10 seasons and had a career .414 on-base average. A left-handed batter, Ott took advantage of the short right field dimensions at the Polo Grounds utilizing a quirky hitting style in which he lifted his right leg as he started his swing. Copying that style years later was the Japanese slugger Sadaharu Oh of the Yomiuri Giants.
In his last six seasons in the majors, Ott wore two hats for the Giants as a player manager. A soft-spoken man from Louisiana with a demeanor not unlike that of Gehrig, it was Ott to whom Leo Durocher came up with his famous line, “Nice guys finish last.”
Ott never did finish last, and when he did finish his career he was first among New York players in total hits. Now that distinction belongs to Derek Jeter, another nice guy who doesn’t finish last.