Coming in at #3 on our Top 5 Derek Jeter Hall of Fame moments is “DJ3K.”
This moment perfectly captures Derek’s flair for the dramatic. As the milestone of 3,000 hits approached, The Captain downplayed how much he had been thinking about it. With Jeter reaching career hit number 2,990 and so forth, each day the anticipation of the moment grew and fans clamored to have a ticket and be at the game when it finally happened. Every at-bat, cameras were locked and loaded ready to freeze that milestone forever in history.
Although Jeter downplayed how much he thought about getting that 3,000th hit, it became clear that the gravity of the moment had at least affected The Captain in some way. For weeks leading up to the big moment, Jeter struggled in the box and even mentioned afterwards that it had become hard to enjoy the milestone because of all the negativity surrounding him and his regression.
On July 9, 2011, Derek would silence the doubters and achieve the milestone that had eluded him the past few games. With Tampa Bays’ David Price on the mound, Derek dug into the box in the first inning and singled to reach career hit #2,999. In the bottom of the third, Jeter would return to the box to deliver one of his most memorable plays as he took Price’s 3-2 breaking ball deep to the left-center gap and over the fence for a home run. Yankees’ television announcer Michael Kay exclaimed, “History with an exclamation point!”
As Derek Jeter would tell you himself, he’s not one for personal achievements and as it inched closer the pressure to reach it and move on became a game-to-game storyline. He went on to have a 5 for 5 day at the plate along with the go ahead RBI single in the bottom of the eighth. Finally reaching the milestone allowed Jeter to stay locked into the task at hand, which was winning the ballgame. Jeter became the first Yankee in team history to reach 3,000 hits and he did so in style.
The big moments, whether personal or team, were never too big for Derek. He rose to the occasion time and time again and did so with both style and class. He will forever be immortalized in baseball history when he is inducted in the National Baseball Hall of Fame later today, January 21, 2020.