Derek Jeter, the most recent MLB player to join the 3,000-hit club, continued to climb the all-time hits list this season when he led the league with 216 knocks. Even in the sunset of his career, the Yankee captain has been unrelenting at the plate and entered rarefied air this year, most recently passing Willie Mays.
But while he may be in the company of some of the game's best, he's still a long way from "Hit King" Pete Rose. The Reds legend weighed in on Jeter's career, and the likelihood of his chances of chasing down his hits record. Rose told Joe Posnanski that "time's running out" for Jeter to make up the 952-hit gap. The record is 4,256 hits and it's one number in baseball that doesn't seem in jeopardy of falling anytime soon.
Rose went through the math on what Jeter would need to do as he plays into his 40s, and said point blank that he didn't think the Yankee shortstop would break his record. He also addressed what the Yankees would have to do in the field to continue to give Jeter at-bats:
"I don't think he will break the record," Rose told Posnanski. "First of all, I don't think he wants to leave the Yankees. And the Yankees, they're about winning. Jeter had a great year this year, but he's what? Thirty-eight years old? And he's a shortstop? How many 40-year-old shortstops you see walking around? Not too many, right? And they can't put him at third because A-Rod's there. They can't put him at second 'cause Cano's there. He don't help them in left field - he's got to be in the center of things, you know what I mean? What are they going to do? Put him at first base?"
It's remarkable that the conversation is even on the table, but leading the league in hits at the age of 38 will force people, like Rose, to start doing the math.