On July 9, 2011, Derek Jeter recorded his 3,000th career hit against the Tampa Bay Rays, adding another career milestone to his remarkable Yankee career.
It was a beautiful day for baseball in the Bronx on that Saturday afternoon. Temperatures were in the mid-80s and the Yankees were coming off an unscheduled off-day due to rain the night before. A crowd of 48,103 packed Yankee Stadium in hopes that they would be able to witness Derek Jeter reach a rare milestone.
Jeter entered July 9 with 2,998 hits and was on pace to join the 3,000 hit club just before the All-Star Break. With the previous night’s game rained out Jeter would have one less game to work with, since the rescheduled date for the July 8 rainout was for late September. Plus, the Yankees would begin the second half of the season with eight straight road games. If Jeter wanted to do it in front of the home crowd, now would be the time.
To lead off the bottom of the first inning on a payoff pitch, Jeter bounced a ball between Rays’ third baseman Evan Longoria and shortstop Reid Brignac for hit No. 2,999. The goal of joining the 3,000 hit club that day became even more likely to happen.
Just two innings later in the bottom of the third on a payoff pitch from David Price, Jeter launched the pitch into the first row of the bleachers in left field for his 3,000th hit. He became the second player to hit a home run for his 3,000th hit after Wade Boggs accomplished the feat in 1999 with Tampa and was the fourth-youngest player to reach the milestone behind Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron and Robin Yount.
The Captain’s special day would end in style, as he went 5-for-5 with a double, home run, stolen base and two RBIs to bring his career-hit total to 3,003. He would eventually end his career with 3,465 hits, good for the sixth-most in the history of Major League Baseball.