The first Sunday of the season brought a schedule full of day games, but it also brought a bit of history. Two domes housed games where records were broken, and legends were passed. But these are not the only milestones that will be passed this year. Lets look at the records that went down, and those on the horizon.
Derek Jeter passes Paul Molitor
Is it possible for a Hall of Famer to be underrated? If so, then Paul Molitor definitely has a case. The Yankee shortstop finally passed the least talked about member of the top 10 all time hits list with two hits on Sunday. This was Jeter’s first multi-hit game of the season, and doubled his hits on the year.
The hits brought Jeter’s career total to 3,320, just 99 hits from reaching Carl Yastrzemski for seventh all time and just 110 from reaching Honus Wagner for sixth. It would take an incredible season for the Captain to catch Tris Speaker for fifth (196 hits away), but Jeter did have a 200 hit season in his last full season.
Yu Darvish: Fastest to 500
Sunday was also the debut of Yu Darvish for the Texas Rangers. Darvish finished 2013 with 498 strikeouts, so reaching 500 was just a matter of getting in the game. Asn when he did get into the game, he picked up right where he left off, fanning the first two hitters he faced.
The second strikeout was inning number 401 2/3 for Darvish, making him the fastest (innings pitched wise) to pile up 500 K’s. The other players near Darvish’s total were Kerry Wood at 404 2/3, Mark Prior at 421 2/3 and Stephen Strasburg at 426 1/3, making for an interesting lineup. Prior and Wood, two Cubs who blew out their arms with heavy workloads and suspect mechanics at times, Strasburg a phenom who may have been babied too much, but blew his arm out anyway and Darvish, a star import from Japan.
Milestones of the near future
You could call this the Albert Pujols category, becuase the Angels’ slugger is nearing milestones in doubles, homers and runs batted in. With his next double, Pujols will tie Frank Robinson and Cap Anson for 35 all time in doubles with 528. His next homer will tie Fred McGriff and Lou Gehrig for 26 all time, and with eight more he will reach 500. His next RBI will be his 1500th and he is just 42 away from passing Willie Stargell.
Others nearing milestones are:
Mark Trumbo – One homer shy of 100
Raul Ibanez – Three hits shy of 2000
Adam Jones – Seven hits away from 1000
Derek Jeter – Four runs from tying Tris Speaker for 11th all time
Baseball is a game of numbers, and some big name guys are getting to set some big career numbers this year.