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A look at Jeter by the numbers

3/28/2011

Ten bits of statistical minutiae related to Derek Jeter's 3,000-hit pursuit, culled from resources provided to us by the Elias Sports Bureau, Baseball-Reference.com, Stats Inc. and the National Pastime Baseball Almanac.

No wonder Orioles manager Buck Showalter was griping about Derek Jeter (who had 12 hits for Showalter in 1995). The Orioles have yielded 291 hits to Jeter, the most of any American League team.

With nine more hits against the Orioles, Jeter will become the third player to get at least 300 hits against that franchise since it moved from St. Louis to Baltimore in 1954. The other two are Hall of Famers Carl Yastrzemski (363) and Al Kaline (326).

Jeter is a .299 career hitter against the Orioles, far from his best performance against any team. The AL team against whom Jeter has the highest batting average is the Indians, .347. We'll get to the NL team he most dominates in just a little bit.

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The pitcher against whom Jeter has had the most hits is Tim Wakefield, with 31.

Considering he's faced Wakefield 115 times, it's not surprising that's the pitcher against whom Jeter has had the most hit by volume. But Jeter has been stuck on 31 hits against Wakefield for awhile. He's 0-for-his-last-9 against the knuckleballer and hasn't had a regular-season hit against Wakefield since 2008.

More interesting are the pitchers who Jeter owns. Teammate CC Sabathia is one. Jeter can thank Sabathia for 13 of his hits. Sabathia is one of three pitchers against whom Jeter has hit .500 or better (minimum 25 plate appearances), the other two being Hideo Nomo (.600 BA, 12 hits) and Eric Milton (.500 BA, 14 hits) .

Jeter can also breathe easier with the knowledge that one of those against whom he's struggled might not be pitching in the majors much longer -- struggling Angels lefty Scott Kazmir (6-for-42).

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Jeter's seven seasons of 200 or more hits rank tied for seventh all-time. But it feels unlikely that he's going to catch the all-time leaders in this category -- Pete Rose and Ichiro Suzuki, with 10 apiece.

Most Seasons with 200+ Hits
All-Time

Perhaps a more realistic goal is to become the all-time leader in most consecutive seasons with at least 156 hits.

Jeter has reached that number in each of the last 15 seasons. One of our favorite research tools, the National Pastime Almanac, shows that Jeter is one of five players with at least that many hits in that many consecutive seasons. The other four: Pete Rose (16), Honus Wagner (15), Hank Aaron (15), and Stan Musial (15).

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Jeter is already the Yankees' career hits leader. His single-season best of 219 in 1999 ranks fourth in Yankees history.

Jeter’s .314 batting average also ranks fourth-best overall, trailing Babe Ruth (.349), Lou Gehrig (.340), Earle Combs (.325), and Joe DiMaggio (.325).

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Jeter’s 321 interleague hits are the most all-time. The National League team Jeter has tormented the most is the Mets. Not only does he have 117 hits in 75 games against his crosstown rivals, his .380 batting average is the second-best ever against the Mets, trailing former Brave Rico Carty, whose lead is a precarious .00013.

It’s not getting any easier for Mets pitchers. Jeter is hitting .409 against them dating back to 2006.

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Jeter’s career high for hits in a game is five, done twice.

By comparison, Jeter’s former teammate, Bernie Williams, has five games of at least five hits, matching Earle Combs for most by a Yankee in the Live Ball Era (since 1920).

Jeter’s not the Yankees leader in games with five, four, or even three or more hits at the moment. Each of those has at least one player better than him.

Jeter is the Yankees leader in multi-hit games with 862.

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Historically, Jeter has heated up with the weather. From March to June, he’s a .304 career hitter. From July to October, he’s hit .323. His 564 hits in August are his most in any calendar month.

Jeter’s 50 hits in August, 1998, are the most by any Yankee in a calendar month since the start of their run of five straight World Series titles in 1949.

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With all the hubbub over whether Jeter should hit first or second this season, his most hits have come in the No. 2 spot in the batting order -- 1,627.

Jeter never had a hit in the No. 4, 5 or 6 positions, but he’s had at least one hit in every other slot. He technically got a hit when batting in the No. 8 slot last season, the only time in his career he’s had a pinch-hit.

One note worth mentioning on batting order position. Jeter’s career slashlines when hitting No. 1 (.313/.385/.454) are almost identical to when he hits No. 2 (.314/.384/.456)

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Three players whose primary position was shortstop have had 3,000 career hits -- Honus Wagner, Cal Ripken Jr., and Robin Yount.

Jeter still trails Wagner, considered by historians to be baseball’s greatest shortstop, in every major statistical category except home runs.

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Lastly, Jeter has had a remarkable knack at hitting ‘em where they ain’t, as evidenced by his Batting Average on Balls in Play.

Highest BA on Balls in Play
Since 1913

When Jeter puts the ball in play, he’s among the game’s most accurate batsmen. Depending on which formula you use to calculate BABIP (one includes sacrifice flies, one doesn’t), Jeter’s BABIP of .358 (or .356) ranks among the very best in the sport.

Entering 2011, Jeter’s .314 batting average ranks 56th best since 1913 (we use that year because it’s the first year for which strikeout totals exist).

Strip away the home runs and strikeouts and Jeter’s BABIP is fifth-best in that span, a near match for Ichiro Suzuki and Rod Carew, two players best known for being able to guide the baseball into spots where they were most likely to get hits. Jeter’s prowess in that regard is one of the rare things about him that seems to go unrecognized.