When the 2013 Yankee season begins, Derek Jeter's magic number to break Pete Rose's all-time hit record will be at 953. Following Jeter's league-leading 216-hit 2012 season, suddenly Pete's hit record is within vision of the Yankee captain—at triple digits. At 3,304 hits, Derek Jeter is 77.6 percent of the way home to setting a new all-time hit record.
No doubt about it, 953 hits is still a long way to go for Derek Jeter. When the season begins, Derek will be 38 years of age. The sceptics will bring the proverbial clock into play, when scoffing at Jeter's chances. But, is that clock really moving too fast for Derek, given his tireless work ethic and proven track record?
Pete Rose, at approximately the same age as Jeter is now, played another seven seasons to get his final 884 hits. To Rose's advantage, as manager later in his career, he had the option of inserting himself into the lineup as he saw fit. To Derek's advantage, only in two of Rose's final seven seasons did he obtain over 170 hits. In three of them, Pete had 107 or fewer.
That bodes well for Jeter, where there has been no indication of the Yankees utilizing him in a platoon role (in the foreseeable future). For his career, Derek averages 193 hits per season. Granted, no one is expecting him to continue at that pace for another five-plus seasons.
However, even if Derek's hit production dropped considerably, he can still be well within range of the hit record by the age of 44 (if playing is still an option or possibility).
On the other hand, we are talking about Derek Jeter here. What happens if Derek hammers out close to 400 hits over the next two seasons? Contract negotiations could become especially juicy, with the all-time hit record within the Yankees' grasp.
Before jumping too far ahead, there are questions to be answered regarding Jeter's ankle, entering the season. The good news is, Derek's rehab is going according to plan and he is expected back for Opening Day, as reported by Mark Feinsand on Blogging the Bombers for the Daily News.
From the consistent high level of productivity Derek Jeter has displayed over the course of his career, I believe the all-time hit record is his for the taking—if he wants it. That, is the big question.
If he does, and avoids serious injuries during the coming seasons, Derek Jeter becoming the all-time hit leader may be inevitable.