At 2 p.m. on Saturday, Derek Jeter, the captain of the New York Yankees, did it, and he did it with style.
The 37-year-old shortstop sent the 78 mile-per-hour pitch delivered by the Tampa Bay Rays' David Price over the left-field wall at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, hitting a home run in his hometown for his 3,000th career hit, and becoming only the 28th major leaguer and the first Yankee to reach the milestone, according to ESPN.
That's right. He is the first Yankee to get all 3,000 hits in the Yankee uniform, the Wall Street Journal said.
No, it wasn't Babe Ruth. Nor was it Joe DiMaggio. Or Mickey Mantle. Or Yogi Berra.
Nope. Derek Jeter is the first, and as of now, the only, Yankee to hit 3,000.
And he is only the second player, after Wade Boggs, to have done the deed with a home run.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Jeter was not as cool, calm and collected as he might have appeared; in fact, he was feeling a lot of pressure before he did it, and a lot of relief after he did it:
"To be honest with you, I was pretty relieved," Jeter said. "I've been lying to you guys saying I wasn't nervous and there was no pressure. There was a lot of pressure to do it here. I thought eventually I would get a few hits, but I felt a lot of pressure to do it here while we're at home. So I have been lying to you for quite some time."
As Jeter's teammates poured out on to the field to congratulate him at home plate after his victory run around the bases, the game was halted for five minutes and the fans went crazy in the stands, cheering one of Major League Baseball's most popular players. And then Jeter went on to lead the Yankees to a 5-4 victory over the Rays, making it a five-hit day for him, the New York Daily News said.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Jeter was as amazed at the way the whole thing played out as any fan was:
"If I would have tried to have written it and given it to someone, I wouldn't have even bought it, to be honest with you. It's just one of those special days," Jeter said.
And Jeter's class was matched by that of the fan who caught the historic ball. Jeter’s 3,000th hit ball was caught by Christian Lopez, a 23 year old from Highland Mills, New York, who gave the ball back to Jeter, Bloomberg News reported. Jeter and the Yankees showed their gratitude by giving Lopez four front-row seats for the game on Sunday; four season tickets for the remaining games in 2011, including postseason games; and memorabilia signed by Jeter, including bats, balls and jerseys. The ball could have sold for as much $250,000, said Doug Allen, president of Chicago’s Legendary auctions.
It's been a difficult year for Jeter -- people have been talking about his age, implying that his greatest days were behind him, and his batting average was sitting in the .230s, the Wall Street Journal said. Then in June, his quest for 3,000 hits was delayed for three weeks when he strained a calf muscle on the 12th. He returned to the active roster on July 4 a new man, and a few days later, on Saturday at 2 p.m., he gave "a performance that ranks among the greatest of his decorated career," the New York Times said.