Derek Jeter catches up to Honus Wagner with 3,430 hits

A rare Honus Wagner baseball card, one of the most coveted among collectors, sold for $2.1 million in an auction last year.

Iconic as Derek Jeter is, it's unlikely his cards will ever equal in value those of Wagner, the Hall of Fame shortstop of many moons ago.

But Jeter on Friday night matched "The Flying Dutchman" in the only area he could, and probably the only one he would care to: in the record book.

He picked up an infield single in the first inning against the Indians, notching his 3,430th hit and tying Wagner for sixth on baseball's official all-time hits list. "We missed Honus by a couple years," Brendan Ryan joked, "but [Jeter] just keeps catching one big name after another. It's pretty cool to watch."

With one out against Trevor Bauer, Jeter hit a sharp grounder up the middle. Jose Ramirez ranged far to his left and fielded the ball, but his throw to first was dropped by Carlos Santana. It was scored a hit.

Jeter later scored on Carlos Beltran's single to right, tying the score at 1 during a five-run inning.

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There is some controversy over Wagner's hits total. The Elias Sports Bureau, the official record-keeper of Major League Baseball, lists Wagner with 3,430 hits. But, one of the primary resources used by the Hall of Fame, has him with 3,420.

The lack of instant replay and Internet game trackers in the 1890s, we assume, made official scoring and stat-keeping a little more difficult.

Jeter, who was 1-for-4, wasn't available to the media after the game. Barring the unforeseen, Jeter will surpass Wagner -- perhaps Saturday -- but he needs 85 more hits to catch Tris Speaker, No. 5 all-time. Not likely, unless Jeter changes his mind about this whole retirement thing.

"Big names, really big names," Joe Girardi said. "It's been fun to watch him go through it this season."

Hits aside, Jeter and Wagner likely will be linked for generations in debates about the greatest shortstops of all time. Their names surely should be among the first mentioned.

Wagner, a legend of the dead-ball era, batted .329 with 101 homers, 1,732 RBIs and 1,736 runs in 21 seasons with the Louisville Colonels and Pittsburgh Pirates. He was among the first class of Hall of Fame inductees in 1936. Jeter, with his own overloaded athletic resume, will join Wagner someday in Cooperstown.

Ryan, who said he collected baseball cards as a kid, said Jeter's eventually can reach "insane" Wagner-like value. "When he's done, man, I don't even know where they'll set the number for his cards," Ryan said, "but it'll be way up there."

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