Derek Jeter passes Mickey Mantle

Updated: August 29, 2011, 11:04 AM ET
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com

BALTIMORE -- Move over, Mick.

Thanks to the first game of Sunday's Yankees-Orioles doubleheader, Derek Jeter has played in 2,402 games as a Yankee, passing Mickey Mantle as the team's all-time leader in games played. The milestone comes in Jeter's 17th season, while Mantle's total was for his 18-year career.

Jeter was 0-for-2 through the fifth inning, when the game -- and the record -- became official. He finished the day 0-for-4 as the Orioles won, 2-0.

But he very nearly didn't make it to the end of the game -- in the third inning, during his second at-bat, Jeter fouled a pitch off the top of his right knee and hopped around the home plate area in obvious pain.

"It's no big deal,'' Jeter said. "It hurts, but it's really nothing.''

After a visit from manager Joe Girardi and team trainer Gene Monahan, Jeter remained in the game and three pitches later, hit a sinking liner that dropped in front of rightfielder Nick Markakis. But what would ordinarily have been a base hit became a simple force out at second when Francisco Cervelli, who had singled, had to hold up thinking the ball might be caught.

The feat has attracted far less attention than Jeter's pursuit of 3,000 hits earlier this season, but the 37-year-old Yankees captain seemed to value it nearly as much.

"I take pride in coming and doing my job, I think that's probably the best way to put it,'' Jeter said in the clubhouse before the game. "My job is obviously to come and play games, try to stay on the field and try to stay healthy. I've done it for a long time, I guess."

After a slow start, Jeter's average was up to .299 entering play Sunday, and since returning from the disabled list on July 4 after straining a calf, Jeter has batted .355 (65-for-183) with 28 RBIs, entering Sunday. Previous to the injury, he was hitting .260.

Jeter's resurgence has quieted talk of his decline, which has been replaced by admiration for his career achievements. Now in his 16th full season, Jeter said he never imagined he would wind up playing more games as a Yankee than any player who ever wore their uniform.

"I don't even think you're aware of anything like that,'' he said. "When you first come up, you're just trying to keep your job and stay here as long as you can. So this one was something I never looked at."

Wallace Matthews covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com.

Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
Follow Wallace on Twitter »  Chat archive »

SPONSORED HEADLINES

EDITORS' PICKS

MORE MLB HEADLINES