Yesterday, Derek Jeter collected his 3,000th hit and quite possibly had the greatest day ever by a player reaching this milestone. The hit was a home run, he went five-for-five, and drove in the go ahead run-what more could you ask for? As much as it pains me to say this, Jeter deserves a congratulations. Accumulating that many hits is quite an accomplishment. So of course, since I’m pretty sure my brain is blue and orange, I began to wonder if any Met will ever reach this same feat?
Sure, the Mets have had some players who made stops in Queens who were members of the club, such as Ricky Henderson and Eddie Murray. But for the Mets to have a player like Jeter, who has spent his entire career with the Yankees and therefore reached immortality with them, would be fantastic. Of course, reaching the 3,000 hit plateau is hard enough as it is, and as a player, you have to have a lot of things going for you. You have to start relatively young (Jeter began his first full season at the age of 21), avoid the disabled list as much as possible, and bang out a lot of hits on a consistent, yearly basis.
The Mets all time hit leader, Ed Kranepool, never had a chance of reaching the 3,000 mark. Kranepool accumulated his franchise-leading 1,418 hits over 18 seasons, averaging 124 hits per 162 games played; those numbers weren’t going to cut it. Jeter, by comparison, has averaged over 200 hits per 162 games played, and it still took him 17 seasons. So does any Met have a shot?
Of the players on the roster, the only one with any sort of chance is Jose Reyes. Reyes, currently on the shelf, has 1,243 hits, second all time, and has averaged 201 hits per 162 games played. He started young, just before his twentieth birthday, but has dealt with injury problems throughout his career. But when he’s healthy, Reyes has pounded out close to or above 200 hits per season. Even with the current hamstring problem, Reyes will still probably wind up with around 200 hits this year, assuming he is healthy following his return. Let’s say he does collect 200 hits this season, bringing him to 1,319 for his career. Assume also that he plays with the Mets forever, and that he will eventually slow down, but average 185 hits per season after this year. At that rate, it would take another nine seasons for Reyes to hit the 3,000 mark, which would make him 37, the same age as Jeter. Is it possible? Yes, but it would require Reyes remaining healthy (and signing with the Mets, of course) as well as maintaining something resembling his current level of play. It’s a long shot, but possible.
At any rate, if Reyes remains with the Mets, he’ll at least pass Kranepool. But whether he will have the longevity required to reach 3,000 hits is another question entirely. While Met fans may hate on Jeter, it’s hard to challenge his hitting prowess and place in baseball history.
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