Blog Entry

HOFer Molitor on Jeter and 3,000

Posted on: July 6, 2011 6:45 pm
 

Hall of Famer Paul Molitor ranks ninth on baseball's all-time hit list at 3,319, just after Honus Wagner (3,415) and just in front of Eddie Collins (3,315).

Not only will he be watching as Derek Jeter becomes the 28th player to join the group, he's one of just a handful of players in baseball history who actually can relate to what the Yankees shortstop is going through now that he's just four knocks away from the milestone hit.

"You hope that as you approach it, you're swinging well and it doesn't become too much about sliding into it vs. marching into it," Molitor says. "You always separate individual goals and team wins as you approach, and you hope it's something where the experience allows you to feel pleasure in those things instead of the pressure."

With Robin Yount as a teammate in Milwaukee before Molitor punched out No. 3,000 while playing for Minnesota in 1996, a then-unknowing Molitor -- dubbed "The Ignitor" with the Brewers -- got a sneak peek of what was to come for him back in 1992.

"I was fortunate in that I had the opportunity to watch Robin do it a few years before myself," Molitor said of Yount, whose 3,000th came on Sept. 9, 1992, a single against Cleveland's Jose Mesa in Milwaukee's County Stadium. "I got a glimpse into the way you go about your business with that while trying to help the team win."

Jeter will become the first player ever to hit 3,000 as a Yankee, which puts him into his own unique and extraordinary category. But given what the Yankees represent and Jeter's consistent attitude throughout his career, the whole individual goals vs. team goals thing is extremely relevant. Jeter already has expressed some awkwardness about all eyes being on him.

On the other hand, as we've seen over the years, outside of a contentious contract negotiation, there is little that ruffles Jeter.

"Derek has never been one to be phased by too many outside influences," Molitor says. "He's always had an amazing ability to take the emotion out of at-bats, whether it's in October or during regular season at-bats.

"He's had a remarkable career. It's going to be a pretty special accomplishment."

Likes: Molitor remains the only one of the 27 members of the 3,000-hit club to triple for his historic hit. He did it against the Royals' Jose Rosado on Sept. 16, 1996. How'd he do that at 39? "You have to pay the outfielders off on the high fly balls into the gap," he joked.

Dislikes: Quick thumbs from umpires Joe West and Angel Hernandez. Those two are brutal.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Hot town, summer in the city
"Back of my neck getting burnt and gritty
"Been down, isn't it a pity
"Doesn't seem to be a shadow in the city
"All around, people looking half dead
"Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head
"But at night it's a different world
"Go out and find a girl
"Come on, come on, and dance all night
"Despite the heat it'll be alright"

-- Lovin' Spoonful, Summer in the City

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