When he's not getting hit in the head or denying PED accusations, Derek Jeter is piling up hits at a record-setting pace. He presently leads the major leagues in hits, with 174, which gives him a chance at coming close to his career best and moving this season into the New York Yankees Top 5 single-season hits list. Many season-best marks for the Yankees are ingrained in our collective consciousness -- Roger Maris' 61 home runs, Lou Gehrig's 184 RBIs in 1931 and Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak. And just as many Top 5 franchise lists look like this: 1. Babe Ruth, 2. Babe Ruth, 3. Babe Ruth, 4. Babe Ruth, 5. Babe Ruth. But the Top 5 hit list for a single season flies under the radar. Lou Gehrig and Don Mattingly are tied for 10th place (211 in 1931 and 1985, respectively), Jeter is ninth (212, 2009) and seventh (214, 2006), Red Rolfe's 213 hits in 1939 put him in eighth place and DiMaggio is in sixth, with 215 hits in 1937. Here are the Top 5:
5. Lou Gehrig, 218, 1927: The Iron Horse put together his best season and one of the greatest in baseball history. Besides banging out 218 hits (second in the American League), he led the AL in RBIs (175) and doubles (52, which is second best in team history). He put up a .373/.474/.765 line, 1.249 OPS, 220 OPS+ and 11.5 WAR, with 47 home runs and 18 triples.
4. Derek Jeter, 219, 1999: The best season of Jeter's career, he led the majors in hits (the Yanks had two 200-plus-hit players that year, with Bernie Williams notching 202), drove in over 100 runs for the only time in his career, hit 24 home runs, had an OPS+ of 153, a 7.8 WAR, a .989 OPS and a line of .349/.438/.552.
3. Lou Gehrig, 220, 1930: His 220 hits weren't even good enough to lead the league in the offensive explosion that was the 1930s (forgotten Cleveland Indians second baseman Johnny Hodapp did, with 225). It was just another typical, amazing year for Gehrig: .379/.473/.721, 1.194 OPS, 203 OPS+, 9.2 WAR, 41 home runs, a league-leading 174 RBIs, 42 doubles and 17 triples.
2. Earl Combs, 231, 1927: The center fielder of the Murderers' Row Yankees, Combs led the AL in hits that season (interestingly enough, Pirate Paul Waner led the majors with 237 and his brother, Lloyd, was second in the NL with 223), and he also set a franchise record with 23 triples. Combs, elected to the Hall of Fame in 1970 by the Veteran's Committee, batted .356 in 1927, with a .414 OBP, .511 slugging percentage, .925 OPS, 141 OPS+ and 6.7 WAR. He hit six home runs and 36 doubles and drove in 64 runs.
1. Don Mattingly, 238, 1986: Donnie Baseball's 1986 season may have been better than his 1985 MVP year. Besides setting a club record with 238 hits (most in the majors), he also established a new team mark for doubles, with 53. Mattingly led the AL in OPS (.967) and slugging percentage (.573), batted .352 with a .394 OBP, had an OPS+ of 161 and a 7.1 WAR. He drove in 113 runs and hit 31 home runs, and also managed to hit two triples, too. His season was almost Lou Gehrig-like, and he finished second in the MVP voting to that guy who's presently pitching for the Sugar Land Skeeters.