Derek Jeter will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sept. 8. The Post is counting down his 10 best moments leading into The Captain’s big day in Cooperstown.
No. 10. Jeter becomes the Yankees’ all-time hits leader in 2009
Derek Jeter had long been bearing down on Lou Gehrig’s franchise hits record, and on Sept. 11, 2009, the inevitable became reality.
Leading off in the bottom of the third inning against the Orioles’ Chris Tillman, Jeter slashed a 2-0 fastball down the right-field line. That single was his 2,722nd career hit, allowing Jeter to leapfrog Gehrig for the most in Yankees history.
Jeter’s teammates streamed out of the dugout to coronate the Yankees’ new hit king, while 46,771 fans at Yankee Stadium — who had waited out an 87-minute rain delay — erupted in a frenzy. As fans serenaded Jeter by chanting his name, he twice tipped his helmet toward the stands in appreciation.
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“The whole experience has been overwhelming,” Jeter said after the game. “This is more than I could’ve imagined. It says a lot about how [the fans] feel about their team and more importantly how they feel about the history of their team. I appreciate each and every one that was there.”
Gehrig’s record had stood for more than 70 years. The Hall of Fame first baseman originally set the mark in 1937, passing the previous record-holder, Babe Ruth. But the Iron Horse’s career came to a premature close in 1939 due to the debilitating effects of ALS.
Jeter had tied Gehrig with a similarly struck base hit, two days before the record-setting single.
“For those who say today’s game can’t produce legendary players, I have two words: Derek Jeter,” Yankees owner George Steinbrenner said in a statement. “As historic and significant as becoming the Yankees’ all-time hit 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.”
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