25 Most Memorable Hits of Derek Jeter's Career

Max Goodman

On this day in 1995, a 20-year-old shortstop named Derek Jeter recorded his first Major League hit.

Over the next two decades, Jeter would compile a total of 3,465 hits, sixth most in baseball history.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Jeter's first hit, Sports Illustrated's Inside The Pinstripes presents you with 25 of the most memorable hits of The Captain's illustrious career.

From his first to his last, take a trip down memory land in chronological order to honor the Hall of Famer and one of the greatest to ever play this game.

1. Hit No. 1 for No. 2

May 30, 1995

After an 0-for-5 performance in his big-league debut the day prior, Jeter stroked a grounder through the left side of the infield for a single off Seattle's right-hander Tim Belcher.

2. First RBI (off The Big Unit)

May 31, 1995

Imagine facing Randy Johnson in just your third game suiting up at the Major League level.

For Jeter's third career hit, the shortstop took a fastball from the lefty flamethrower and deposited it into right field for an RBI single, the first run batted in of his career.

Johnson went on to win the American League Cy Young Award in '95 with a record of 18-2. He received a no decision in this start, in part because of Jeter's two-out RBI.

3. First hit at Yankee Stadium

June 3, 1995

It wasn't until Jeter's fifth game of his career that he gave Yankees fans an in-person sneak peek of what was to come.

With the California Angels in town, Jeter ripped a ball into the left-field corner, scoring one run to give the Bombers an early 2-1 lead. As he reached second base on the double, it also marked the first extra base hit of Jeter's career in New York.

4. First home run (on first Opening Day)

April 2, 1996

Through his first 15 games in 1995, Jeter had yet to hit his first career home run. That changed on Opening Day the following spring.

To lead off the top of the fifth in Cleveland, No. 2 turned on a pitch from righty Dennis Martinez, sending it into the left-field bleachers for his first big-league homer. He would go on to hit another 259 in his career in the regular season.

5. Only regular season home run in extra innings

August 2, 1996

Across 2,747 regular season games, only once did Derek Jeter homer in extra innings – it just so happens that home run didn't leave the yard.

In Kansas City, both starting pitchers had twirled nine shutout innings as the game transitioned into the 10th. With Joe Girardi on second, Jeter blasted a fly ball to straight away center field. The Royals center fielder Tom Goodwin couldn't make the grab as the ball trickled back toward the infield.

Jeter rounded the bases for a two-run, inside-the-park homer to give New York the lead.

6. First career walk-off hit

September 21, 1996

By the end of his career, Jeter was known for his late-inning heroics and ability to come up big in the clutch. That began down the stretch in '96.

Against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium, Jeter stepped up with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the 10th. The game was tied at 11.

With two strikes, Jeter laced a single right back up the middle to secure the victory for the Bombers. Wade Boggs, another future Hall of Famer, scored on the play.

READ: Wade Boggs calls 1994 Yankees "the best team [he's] ever played on."

7. Jeffrey Maier home run

October 9, 1996

In Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS, the Yankees were down 4-3 in the eighth inning to the Baltimore Orioles. With Armando Benitez on the mound, Jeter skied a fly ball to deep right, approaching Yankee Stadium's short porch.

Right fielder Tony Tarrasco reached up to make the grab but a young fan – Jeffrey Maier – reached for the ball as it caromed off his glove and into the first row of the bleacher seats.

Did Maier reach over the wall? Perhaps a replay review would have changed the call. Either way, Jeter had his first postseason homer.

8. All-Star Game MVP

July 11, 2000

Starting at shortstop and hitting second in the 2000 All-Star Game, Jeter went 3-3, squaring up base hits off Randy Johnson, Kevin Brown and Al Leiter.

Coincidentally, each of those three NL All-Star hurlers would eventually end up as Jeter's teammates in the Bronx.

9. Leadoff homer in Subway Series

October 25, 2000

On the very first pitch of Game 4 of the 2000 World Series, Jeter went deep.

No. 2 sent a fastball from Mets' starter Bobby Jones into the seats at Shea Stadium to give the Bombers an early lead, one they wouldn't relinquish. New York went on to win the World Series the next game, Jeter's fourth in a span of five seasons. He was recognized as the 2000 World Series MVP.

10. Mr. November wins Game 4

November 1, 2001

In a game that began on October 31, the clock had struck midnight by the time Jeter stepped into the box in the bottom of the tenth frame.

With Diamondbacks' closer Byung-Hyun Kim on the mound, the shortstop belted a full-count pitch to the opposite field, clearing the short porch in right to give the Yankees a 4-3 win (and himself a new nickname).

11. Only regular season walk-off home run

April 5, 2005

Jeter blasted only one walk-off home run in the regular season in his entire career and it came shortly after the 2005 campaign began.

In the bottom of the 9th off Keith Foulke, Jeter went to the opposite field for a solo shot to clinch a 4-3 win over the rival Red Sox.

12. First and only grand slam

June 18, 2005

After eclipsing the 10-year anniversary of his MLB debut, Jeter still had never hit a grand slam.

In an interleague matchup with the Chicago Cubs at Yankee Stadium, Jeter delivered with the bases loaded. A no-doubt homer to the power alley in left-center field was his first grand slam of his career – he would never accomplish the feat again.

13. All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium

July 15, 2008

In front of the home crowd, in an emotional send-off to the classic Yankee Stadium, Jeter got on base in his first at-bat.

Starting at shortstop and hitting second in the American League's order, Jeter looped a softly hit line drive to the right side of the infield. A tough hop had the ball evade the glove of second baseman Chase Utley, allowing The Captain to reach.

14. Final hit in old Yankee Stadium

September 19, 2008

Jeter wound up with 1,274 hits in the old Yankee Stadium. It's only fitting that the final base hit of his tenure in The House That Ruth Built was a single to right field.

Before going hitless in the Yankees final two contests at Yankee Stadium in 2008, Jeter grounded a base knock through the right side in the bottom of the fifth of a 3-2 Yankees victory.

15. Jeter passes Lou Gehrig

September 11, 2009

With Jeter's 2,722nd hit, The Captain passed all-time Yankees great Lou Gehrig on the leaderboard for the most hits in franchise history.

As is typically the case, Jeter reached on a sharply hit line drive to the right side – this time over the first base bag down the line – to clinch the historic milestone.

READ: Philadelphia artist uses Lou Gehrig word art illustration to raise money for ALS charities amid coronavirus pandemic

16. 11 hits in 2009 World Series

November 4, 2009

En route to his fifth and final World Series title, Jeter set a new personal best for hits in a single postseason series (out of a total of 33 total series in his vast playoff career). In six games against the Phillies, Jeter tallied 11 hits, posting a .407 batting average.

In a decisive Game 6, when the Bombers clinched at Yankee Stadium, Jeter had three hits – his third multi-hit game of the series.

17. 3,000 big league hits

June 12, 2010

If you factor in the base knocks Jeter had compiled in postseason play, he reached 3,000 Major League hits a year before his historic day in 2011.

On a Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium, Jeter took Houston's southpaw Wandy Rodriguez deep to left-center field to lead off the bottom of the first frame. He wound up hitting another long ball later in the game, one of only 10 multi-homer games in Jeter's career.

18. Second career inside-the-park home run

July 22, 2010

As it turns out, Jeter had a knack for hitting inside-the-park homers against the Royals.

At Yankee Stadium, Jeter circled the bases on a deep fly ball to center that bounced away from Kansas City's David DeJesus (who was injured on the play).

It was his second and final inside-the-park homer of his career.

19. No. 3,000

June 9, 2011

YES Network's Michael Kay said it best from the broadcast booth: "history with an exclamation point!"

Not only did Jeter go 5-for-5, drive in the game-winning run and come a triple shy of the cycle, but the legendary shortstop obtained his 3,000th hit on a home run (something only three players have ever done in baseball history).

He became the first player in franchise history to eclipse 3,000 hits in a Yankees uniform, joining an exclusive group of all-time greats that have reached the milestone. Presently only 32 players have 3,000 or more hits in their careers.

20. Final hit in the postseason

October 13, 2012

Jeter's final postseason hit came in Game 1 of the 2012 ALCS against the Tigers—his last playoff game ever.

In his second at-bat against right-hander Doug Fister, Jeter stroked a base hit to right field. Later in the game, he fractured his left ankle at shortstop, ending his year and postseason career.

Nonetheless, Jeter has played in the most postseason games (158) and tallied the most postseason hits (200) in MLB history.

21. Final All-Star Game

July 15, 2014

It was at the Midsummer Classic in July of Jeter's final season when he began to say goodbye to Major League Baseball.

Leading off for the American League in his 14th All-Star Game, Jeter laced a double down the right-field line off Cardinals' right-hander Adam Wainwright. A Mike Trout triple brought him home a few pitches later.

In the third frame, off Cincinnati's Alfredo Simon, Jeter lined a patented single to right field. 

22. Passing Gehrig in doubles

July 22, 2014

A double down the left-field line against the Texas Rangers at Yankee Stadium marked 535 in his career, passing Lou Gehrig and giving him more two-baggers than anyone else in Yankees history. He would hit nine more in his career.

23. Jeter passes Honus Wagner

August 9, 2014

An infield single off Cleveland's ace Corey Kluber was hit No. 3,431 for Jeter, putting him ahead of Honus Wagner for sixth on the all-time leaderboard.

Later in the month of August, a previously ruled base hit was changed to an error, meaning Jeter technically didn't pass Wagner until his next base hit, a single two days later against Baltimore.

There are also some discrepancies, however, between different rankings and hit totals. While the Elias Sports Bureau had Wagner sixth in baseball history at that point, Baseball-Reference ranked Cap Anson ahead of him. For more on this dispute, check out Sports Illustrated's coverage from back in 2014 by clicking here.

24. Last hit in pinstripes

September 25, 2014

This storybook moment is simply unforgettable.

Jeter delivered a walk-off base hit to clinch a Yankees victory in the final home game of his career.

It was almost too good to be true as the shortstop did what he does best, lining a single through the right side to wrap up his 20-year tenure in pinstripes.

25. Hit No. 3,465

September 28, 2014

In the final game of Jeter's career, the Yankees shortstop bounced an infield single to the left side in the third inning before coming off the field one final time.

At Fenway Park, serenaded with cheers rather than a chorus of boos from Red Sox fans, Jeter's single was his 3,465th and final base knock of his career. Skipper Joe Girardi gestured to the shortstop if he wanted to come out of the game before sending Brian McCann out as a pinch runner.

Related reading on 25th anniversary of Jeter's first hit:

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For more from Max Goodman, follow him on Twitter @MaxTGoodman. Follow ITP on Twitter @SI_Yankees and Facebook @SIYankees

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