With Derek Jeter fast approaching the magical milestone of 3,000 hits (or is it slowly approaching, with his not-quite-stellar season?), it's time to take a look at other New Yorkers who are at or near the top of the leader board on some of baseball's most cherished lists. The first thing we need to do, though, is ask, what constitutes a New Yorker? Babe Ruth began and finished his career in Boston, but he's obviously a New Yorker through and through. What about Willie Mays, though? He played parts of eight seasons in New York with the Giants and Mets, but parts of 15 in San Francisco. Dave Winfield? He played eight-plus seasons with the New York Yankees out of a total of 22. Reggie Jackson? Only five of his 21 seasons were played in New York. Does Rickey Henderson's seven summers in New York qualify him, though he played a total of 25 years? Mike Mussina? Eight of 18 seasons were spent in the Bronx. Is Alex Rodriguez now a tried-and-true New Yorker even though he's played more than half his career elsewhere? We'll let you decide on those greats. But Nolan Ryan, Phil Niekro, Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs and Tom Glavine? No, no, no, no and no.
We'll start with the 3,000 Hit Club. Mays is the top local player, with 3,283 hits, good for 11th on the all-time hit list. Winfield is 19th, with 3,110 hits. And Henderson banged out 3,055 hits, which puts him 21st on the list. And that's it. No Ruth, no Joe DiMaggio, no Mickey Mantle, no New York Mets, no old Brooklyn Dodgers or any old Giants (except for Mays). Jeter will be the 28th player to accumulate 3,000 hits. And the Yankees shortstop is zooming up the all-time runs scored list, also. His 1,719 places him in a tie for 25th place with Wee Willie Keeler. There are plenty of New York players filling up this list: Henderson's No. 1, with 2,295, Ruth (2,174) is interestingly enough tied with Hank Aaron for fourth place, Mays (2,068) is seventh, Gehrig (1,888) is 10th, Giant Mel Ott (1,859) is 12th and A-Rod is in the Top 20, at 18th, with 1,792 runs scored.
The all-time home run list includes Ruth, of course, with 714, which is third (well, really second) on the list. Mays belted 660, good for fourth place behind Ruth. A-Rod is sixth, with 623, though like Barry Bonds and a bunch of other modern-day players, he had a little performance-enhancing assistance in gathering his total. Jackson is in 13th place, with 563. Mantle bashed 536, and Ott hit 511 to round out the 500 Club (Lou Gehrig hit 493). Ruth is second all-time on the RBI list, with 2,213, just 84 short of Aaron's record. Gehrig comes in at No. 5, with 1,995. Mays is 10th, with 1,903. And A-Rod (1,864) and Ott (1,860) are right behind the Say Hey Kid. Winfield is the only other New York player in the top 20, standing at 17, with 1,833 runs batted in.
Lefty O'Doul of the Giants, Dodgers and Yankees is fourth on the all-time batting average list, with a .3493 mark. Ruth (.3421) is tied for ninth place. The obscure Dave Orr, who played for the 1800s New York Metropolitans, batted .3420 (11th place). Keeler, who played for the Giants, Dodgers and Yankees, hit 'em where they weren't to the tune of a .3413 average, which puts him 14th on the list, with old Giant Bill Terry (.3412) and Gehrig (.3401) right behind him. And John McGraw rounds out the top 25, with his .3336 average playing for Brooklyn and the Giants before going on to become one of the all-time managerial greats.
If we want to get all sabermetric-y, the Babe stands atop the WAR list, with a 172 mark. Mays (154.7) is fourth, Mantle (120.2) is 12th, with Gehrig (118.4), Henderson (113.1) and Ott (109.3) directly behind the Mick. A-Rod is 19th, with a 103.9 WAR. OPS? Ruth is the king once again, of course, at 1.1636. Gehrig (1.0798) comes in third, Mantle (.9773) and DiMaggio (.9771) rank 11th and 12th, respectively.
On the pitching side of things, Tom Seaver and Christy Mathewson are the best New York had to offer. Among 300-game winners, Mathewson is tied for third place with Grover Cleveland Alexander with 373 victories. Dave Orr's old Metropolitans teammate Tim Keefe won 342 games, which puts him 10th on the all-time list. The 1884 Mets finished in first with a 75-32 record, by the way, with Keefe going 37-17 on their two-man pitching staff -- yes, two-man pitching staff (a third hurler appeared in one game). Orr led the offense with a .901 OPS. Seaver piled up 311 wins, good for 18th place, playing mostly for the modern-day Mets.
Seaver is sixth on the all-time strikeout list, with 3,640. Mike Mussina (2,813) is 19th, while David Cone fanned 2,668 batters, putting him in 22nd place. And I know what you're asking, "Where is Tim Keefe on the list?" Well, he's 27th, with 2,564 K's. And we might as well keep going since Jerry Koosman (2,556) and Mathewson (2,507) are right behind him. As for ERA, Mathewson is eighth, with a 2.13 mark. Mariano Rivera (2.22) checks in at 19, though that could change since he's still pitching of course. And Babe Ruth (2.28) is 17th. "But wait a minute, where's Tim Keefe?" you say? "And can you tell me more about him?" The 19th-century hurler is tied with Cy Young at No. 59, with a 2.62 ERA. Other Tim Keefe facts: He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1964; as a rookie with the Troy Trojans he had a league-best 0.86 ERA; he won 30-plus games six times, including 40-plus twice; and in 1888 he won the pitching Triple Crown.
And what about WAR for pitchers? Seaver's 105.3 is tops for New Yorkers and puts him in fourth place on the all-time list. Mathewson (87.7) is 14th. Our old friend Tim Keefe (82.5) is 18th. And Mike Mussina (24th, 74.8), Carl Hubbell (36th, 64.4), Amos Rusie (1800s Giants, 40th, 60.6), Koosman (44th, 58.8), Cone (47th, 57.5) and another really, really old Giant Mickey Welch (50th, 56.5, who was also a teammate of Tim Keefe's on the Trojans) made the top 50.
So there we go. Without Jeter's upcoming accomplishment, we may never have known about Tim Keefe and the old New York Metropolitans.