NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Hit King has spoken. If you thought Derek Jeter would one day break MLB’s all-time hits record, think again, says Pete Rose.
The current record holder recently told award-winning sportswriter — and “Paterno” author — Joe Posnanski that time is “running out” on the Yankees captain.
“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?”
Jeter led all of baseball with 216 hits this season. His 740 plate appearances and 683 at-bats were also tops in the majors.
With 3,304 hits, the 38-year-old needs 952 more to tie Rose’s mark of 4,256.
“He still needs 950 hits, right? He had a great year this year, but you think he can do that again? At 39? A shortstop?” said Rose. “Let’s say he does it again. Let’s say he gets 200 more hits next year. And let’s say he gets 200 more hits when he’s 40, though I don’t think he can. OK, can he get 200 more hits when he’s 41? You think he can?”
Rose, who was shut out of the Hall of Fame when a betting scandal led to his lifetime ban in 1989, said Jeter reminds him of of one of the all-time greats — himself.
“I don’t think he can get 200 more hits at 41, but let’s say he does. OK, now he’s 42. He’s gonna get 200 more hits then? At 42? Let me tell you, I’ve been there, the body locks up,” Rose told Posnanski. “Jeter’s a great hitter. I’d say he hits like I did. But he’s gonna get 200 hits when he’s 42? I don’t think he will. And even if he does all that, he’s still 150 hits short.”
Got all that?
Buckle up, Rose wasn’t done having fun with numbers.
“I’d say Jeter will probably end up in batting average about where I was. We’re about the same — me, Derek, Hank, Willie,” he said. “We were all hitting about .311 or .312 or .313 when we got into our late 30s, maybe Willie was a little lower, and we all ended up around .303 or .305. Jeter will probably end up where I did, right around there. So if his average is around the same as mine, he has to get about as many at-bats as I did. I got 14,053 at-bats. What’s he got? Ten thousand? Eleven thousand? He’s a great hitter. How’s he going to get 3,500 more at-bats?
“I think time’s running out.”
Last week on WFAN radio, Rose said he wasn’t “bitter with anybody” about his ban, but expressed his desire for reinstatement from commissioner Bud Selig.
“I’m going to tell you something right now, whether you believe it or not,” Rose told WFAN’s Steve Somers. “Baseball is a better game if I’m in it. OK? Because I care about the game and I’m a teacher of the game. And I care about young players.”
Do you think Rose has a point, or will Jeter prove him wrong? Be heard in the comments below!