NEW YORK -- Derek Jeter's march to history reached its completion against the Orioles on Friday night, and it came on a hard-and-low drive up the first-base line off Chris Tillman in the third inning. Jeter became the all-time Yankees hit leader on that single, and a few Baltimore players spoke about the prospect of being part of the event before the game.
"I think he'd like to get it done and over with," said catcher Chad Moeller, who spent the 2008 season with the Yankees. "I think it's an amazing achievement. The category that he's in as a player is just amazing, and his numbers as far as hits and everything are hard to comprehend. He's also a fantastic teammate who shows up to play every day and never complains. No matter what, he's always cared about winning more than anything else."
Jeter, who owns four World Series rings as well as the all-time record for postseason hits, has had that reputation since his first season in the league. The steady metronome of a shortstop has cranked out impressive totals season after season, and he passed Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig on the hits chart (2,722) in Friday's game.
There had been quite a bit of fanfare leading up to that achievement, as Jeter had tied the Iron Horse with a three-hit game on Wednesday night. The Yankee Stadium crowd bathed him in applause on both nights, and the home dugout emptied to form a reception line at first base immediately after his record-breaking hit.
The Orioles formed a line on the top step of the dugout and clapped respectfully after Jeter reached first base. The crowd began to chant Jeter's name during the top of the next inning, a phenomenon that occurred several times at the old Yankee Stadium and that may persist as he mounts a charge at 3,000 hits.
"You know, someday you're going to find Jeter's plaque in center field and his number retired as well. And he's earned it," said manager Dave Trembley before Friday's game. "He is the leader of the Yankees and has been for a long time. I think he is the guy that sets the tone. He has represented not only himself but his organization and the game of baseball with very, very high standards. He's a tremendous player."
Jeter, a 10-time All-Star, is a rare recipient of both the All-Star Game MVP and World Series MVP awards. The 35-year-old has done virtually everything one can do in the game, and now he's the all-time hits leader for baseball's most storied franchise. Amazingly, he's still near the top of his game and showing no signs of slowing down.
"I've had the pleasure of pitching to Derek Jeter a lot, and he's one of those guys that you face with a lot of respect," said veteran reliever Danys Baez. "He's always the same every day, whether he's hitting .200 or hitting .340. He always plays really hard, whether he's winning or losing, and he plays the game with respect. That's why he's at this point right now. I think he deserves it, and that's why he's able to be at this point in his career and still hitting .300. He's been the captain of the Yankees for so many years, and everybody has to respect what he's done."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.