Pete Rose may hold baseball's all-time hits record with 4,256, but The Hit King does not hold the record for MOST IMPORTANT HITS in baseball history, as none of Rose's hits came with the New York Yankees. That record belongs to Lou Gehrig with 2,721. And now Derek Jeter, too.
Each of Gehrig and Jeter's hits came as members of the New York Yankees, thereby making all of their hits far more relevant than anybody else's hits.
"Jeter and Gehrig may only have 2,721, but each of their hits should really count double because they came on the big stage of Yankee Stadium. Imagine the pressure," said Yankees season ticket holder Bob Merloni. "And I don't know who Pete Rose played for, but I know it wasn't the New York Yankees the greatest sports franchise ever. So that kind of puts a black mark on his great career, you know?"
Merloni said that baseball should really cut Rose's hits by half and double the total by Gehrig and Jeter, putting them ahead of Rose by 3,600 hits instead of behind by 1,500.
"Do this, Bud Selig. Make it happen," he said. "Your credibility is at stake."
Mark Roth, a Yankees season ticket holder who says he has been going to games with his father since before he can remember, admits frustration in explaining the importance of Jeter's accomplishment to others.
"I have friends who aren't Yankee fans who don't get all the media coverage this is getting compared to the coverage of team records for other teams. They're like: 'He doesn't even have 3,000 hits,'" says Roth. "What can you say to that ignorance? All you can really say is: 'Umm, it's the Yankees, guy. So it's better. What are you not understanding?' I mean, this isn't a team record for the Cardinals or the Pirates or the Phillies or the Orioles or some team like that. What good players have those teams ever had?"
Merloni hopes the media attention Jeter is receiving paves the way for some of his current and former teammates to receive the recognition they are due, too.
"Do you see some of the people they are putting in the Hall of Fame nowadays?" he said. "How are these losers getting into Cooperstown and not all-time greats like Paul O'Neill, John Wetteland and Scott Brosius? It's a travesty."