Recognizing a legitimate accomplishment: Jeter passes Ruth on hits list

New York Yankees Derek Jeter makes a leaping catch in the seventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium in New York City on August 4, 2010.  UPI/John Angelillo Photo via Newscom

With his 2,874th hit in the Yankees’ 7-2 win over the Red Sox on Sunday, Derek Jeter surpassed Babe Ruth on baseball’s all-time hits list.

And he didn’t even need performance-enhancing drugs to do it either.

Even though Jeter’s accomplishment won’t garner more attention than Alex Rodriguez’s 600th career home run blast, it should. That’s because as far as we know, Jeter didn’t have to cheat in order to reach his milestone. Not like A-Rod, who sheepishly admitted that he needed help to accomplish what he did.

I never understood why some outside of New York choose to hate Jeter. It’s fine if you want to root against the Yankees, but Jeter embodies everything good about the game of baseball. He always hustles, he has always been fundamentally sound and he’s never disrespected the game. Performance-enhancing drugs? Not Jeter.

At 36, he certainly isn’t the player he once was – not even after posting a career high in batting average last year at .334. He doesn’t exhibit the same range defensively as he once did and his speed looks a tad diminished. But in a day and age where so many young players do something stupid on the base paths or don’t understand what team baseball is all about, it’s hard not to love a guy like Jeter – someone who actually understands that getting on base is often more important than hitting the long ball. And how many times has No. 2 come up in a clutch situation and deliver? Far too many times to count.

Some have begun to talk about whether or not Jeter has meant more to the Yankees than Ruth did, but why go there? Let’s just take the time to celebrate his accomplishment – a legitimate accomplishment.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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