It’s the Pride: Derek Jeter Surpasses Lou Gehrig’s Hits Record

During elementary school, I was drawn to a story about the celebrated, but ill-fated Iron Horse, Lou Gehrig, who racked up thousands of hits and never missed a game rain or shine, in sickness and in health.  And who may have died young because of it, his name forever linked with a motorneural disease, amid the love and affection of millions of fans, whether lifelong New York Yankee lovers or not.  I haven’t seen the 1942 Hollywood film about Gehrig, The Pride of the Yankees, with Gary Cooper, one of my favorite ‘old’ actors, but I have seen the 1939 black and white film segment of the man himself, who said he was “the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”

Those were the ‘good old days of the game, when players were near-gods. Those were the days when people looked far older than their years, before the baseball industry truly paid its players well and good, and before blacks and Latinos and Asians were allowed to compete with white players on the diamond. I still think a Satchel Paige or a Josh Gibson could have whupped a Babe Ruth and a Lou Gehrig in their time.

Which makes me feel happy for 35-year-old Derek Jeter as he has surpassed Lou Gehrig’s all-time Yankee hits record of 2,722, which stood at his forced retirement at 36. Moreover, according to Wikipedia, Jeter has currently racked up the following honors:

  • 10× All-Star selection (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009)
  • 4× World Series champion (1996, 1998, 1999, 2000)
  • 3× Gold Glove Award winner (2004, 2005, 2006)
  • 3× Silver Slugger Award winner (2006, 2007, 2008)
  • 1996 AL Rookie of the Year Award
  • 2000 World Series MVP Award
  • 2000 Babe Ruth Award
  • 2000 All-Star Game MVP
  • 2006 AL Hank Aaron Award

Not too shabby for a guy who occasionally goes “Hollywood,” dating the likes of Mariah Carey, and hard-partying enough to sometimes appear on Bossip. However, Jeter didn’t have to perform injured or sick as Gehrig did; and he didn’t have to play for a pittance as Gehrig did either. Jeter worked his way up to those gazillions.

Cal Ripken, Jr. long ago surpassed Gehrig’s record for 2,130 consecutive games, in 1995.

I don’t follow much sports any more; it was my stepfather who introduced me to the early Sixties version of the San Francisco Giants and their long rivalry with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and I’ve seldom moved out of that preoccupation with Marichal, Mays and McCovey.  However, I wish Derek Jeter well; as long as he doesn’t give way to The Stupid, he’s got a few more years before he officially retires, and there is still room on his escutcheon to rack up a lots more honors and awards.

~ by blksista on September 12, 2009.

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