07/10/11 10:00 AM ET
Jeter on exclusive list of one-team 3,000-hitters
By John Schlegel / MLB.com
Getting 3,000 hits is one thing. Doing it with one team is another. Doing it with the Yankees is quite another -- not only because he's the first, but also because it's the Yankees.
"Well, it's a big deal, and it's a really big deal for him, seeing as no Yankee has ever done it," said Robin Yount, who registered all 3,142 of his career hits with the Brewers. "That amazes me. I know there are guys who have done it who played for the Yankees, but no full-time, full-career Yankee. That's just mind-boggling."
Before Jeter became the first in pinstripes to reach 3,000 hits, the nine one-team players were -- and are -- icons for their respective franchises, leaving no doubt which cap they'd use for their induction into the Hall of Fame.
That's certainly true of Jeter, whose "NY" already is emblazoned on his career.
"He's been the leader of the New York Yankees for a long time, and that says a lot about a guy right there," Yount said.
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The last one-team player to reach the magic number was the Astros' Craig Biggio, who has an appreciation for what it means for Jeter to have accomplished this milestone while playing for the Yankees.
"I think for Derek, in general, he's been such a great player and a great role model for the game of baseball, where you're in that New York market, and it's one of the most difficult markets to work in," said Biggio, who became the 27th member of the club in 2007. "For him to be able to play there and be the ambassador of the game he has been and be such a great player, it's really says a lot about him. I'm happy for him."
Cap Anson, who played his entire career before the turn of the 20th century, is considered the first member of the 3,000-hit club, and he had all his hits with the Chicago White Stockings/Colts (later known as the Cubs). Stan Musial of the Cardinals was the first one-team member of the 3,000-hit club in the modern era (since 1900), considering Ty Cobb finished his career with the Philadelphia A's after collecting 3,900 of his 4,189 hits in Detroit. After Musial came Roberto Clemente, forever to be remembered as a member of the Pirates, and for his 3,000 hits being stuck in time following his untimely death on a humanitarian mission.
Then came Al Kaline of the Tigers, Carl Yastrzemski of the Red Sox, George Brett of the Royals and then Yount -- all players synonymous with their respective teams. One-team legends Tony Gwynn of the Padres and Cal Ripken Jr. of the Orioles followed, then came Houston's beloved Killer B, Biggio.
With the exception of Yastrzemski, the rest of the one-team players did their hitting in smaller markets, away from at least some of the spotlight that comes every day with being the Yankees' shortstop.
And that's something the greatest hitters can't help but admire.
"Just the way he's handled himself all these years, being a star player and playing in New York and never getting in any trouble as far as I know, he's a quality, class person," said Kaline. "He's certainly a very happy, welcome addition to the 3,000-hit club. Well deserved."
John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. Reporters Jason Beck, Adam McCalvy and Brian McTaggart contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.