Yankees honor Derek Jeter

Updated: August 14, 2011, 9:29 AM ET
By Ian Begley | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter will be in the Hall of Fame sometime in the not-too-distant future.

His batting gloves and helmet made the trip on Saturday.

Jeter donated the batting gloves and helmet he wore on the day he reached 3,000 hits to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Saturday afternoon.

[+] EnlargeDerek Jeter
AP Photo/Bill KostrounThe Yankees presented Derek Jeter with sculpture commemorating his 3,000th hit.

In a brief ceremony prior to the Yankees' 9-2 win against the Tampa Bay Rays, Jeter was honored by the Yankees for becoming the first member in franchise history to reach the 3,000-hit plateau while wearing pinstripes.

After giving his batting gloves and helmet to two executives from the Hall of Fame, Jeter and his family were feted with gifts from the Yankees organization.

"Any time you get recognized by the organization and your teammates it makes you feel good," Jeter said.

First, team president Randy Levine and COO Lonn Trost presented Jeter with a Waterford Crystal vase commemorating his 3,000th hit.

Hal Steinbrenner and his wife, Christina, then gave Jeter and his mother, Dot; father, Charles; and sister, Charlene; rings and pendants honoring the accomplishment.

Finally, Jeter's Yankees teammates presented him with a 225-pound sculpture, which captured Jeter with his helmet held high in the air in a salute to fans. It was commissioned by pitcher CC Sabathia and part-time DH and longtime teammate Jorge Posada.

Posada and Jeter joked about the statue after the ceremony.

"He said, 'Where am I going to put this?,'" Posada said. "I said, 'You've got plenty of room in that house.'"

To close the ceremony, another longtime teammate, Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, gave a speech thanking God for "being able to see everyone one" of Jeter's 3,034 hits.

"Jete, I love you and ... God bless you," Rivera said.

Jeter said he hadn't been told anything about the ceremony prior to the game and looked genuinely surprised by the gifts.

The Yankees also put Jeter's game-worn jersey from his 3,000th hit on display at the Yankees' Museum at Yankee Stadium.

On July 9, Jeter became the 28th player in major league history -- and the first Yankees player -- to join the 3,000-hit club. At 37 years, 13 days old, he was the fourth-youngest to reach the plateau.

Jeter did so by hitting a solo home run off Tampa Bay's David Price in the third inning. He went 5-for-5 in that game and notched a game-winning RBI single in the eighth. He also scored two runs and stole a base.

Jeter joined Wade Boggs as the only players to hit a home run as their 3,000th career hit and became only the second player to record at least five hits in the game in which they recorded their 3,000th hit (Craig Biggio).

Jeter finished Saturday's game with two hits and 17 behind Rod Carew for 22nd place on the all-time list, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The Yankees captain had struggled at the plate earlier in the season but has heated up lately.

Since returning from the 15-day disabled list on July 4, Jeter is batting .313 (42-for-134) with eight doubles and 21 RBIs in 33 games. During that stretch, he also added another five-hit game, on Aug. 3 at Chicago.

Jeter is just the second player in baseball history to have two five-hit games in the same season at age 37 or older (Dave Winfield did it for the Angels at 39).

The 37-year-old shortstop was hitting .260 before he went down with a hamstring injury. He began Saturday's game batting .276.

Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.

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