I think you can easily make a case for Derek Jeter being the most famous baseball player of his generation. Playing his entire career for the New York Yankees, Jeter has been subjected to the unique kind of scrutiny that comes with playing for the most storied franchise in the sport in the nation’s largest media market. From a visibility standpoint, his rise could not have been better timed – during his rookie season, the Yankees returned to the World Series for the first time in 15 years, and won the Series for the first time in 18 years. For the next five years, he was the best player on what may have been the greatest team in the history of the sport. Those 1996-2001 Yankees were a dynasty, and Jeter (although he had a lot of help) was their rock throughout.
And so today, Derek Jeter became the first New York Yankees player to reach the 3,000 hit plateau. The extraordinary nature of that accomplishment – only 28 have ever done it, you know – is magnified when you think of the Yankees greats who, for one reason or another, did not get there: Ruth, Gehrig, Dickey, DiMaggio, Berra, Mantle, Jackson…the list goes on.
And throughout it all, Jeter has been just about the coolest customer that one could imagine. Congratulations to Derek Jeter, future Hall of Famer and the latest member of the 3,000 hit club.