Derek Jeter rarely has reflected on his accomplishments during this final season, regardless of how monumental some have been. On Saturday, however, he made a small exception for a feat too big not to acknowledge.
Jeter passed Honus Wagner and took over sole possession of sixth place on baseball's all-time hits list with 3,431 after recording an infield single in the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium.
Indians third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall charged Jeter's tapper but couldn't barehand it and probably wouldn't have thrown him out anyway. Jeter now has the most hits in major-league history of anyone who played primarily at shortstop.
"Honus Wagner, he's the last one on the list that played shortstop at all,'' Jeter said. "That one hits home a little bit.''
Jeter hit a comebacker in his first at-bat and was robbed of a single when first baseman Carlos Santana made a diving backhand stop of his grounder in the fourth (when Santana dropped a throw to first on Friday night, a questionable scoring decision gave Jeter the hit that tied Wagner). Jeter struck out in the eighth and finished 1-for-4 as the Yankees lost, 3-0.
"Derek Jeter is the legendary shortstop in this game,'' said the Indians' Nick Swisher, a teammate for four years. "I'm so honored to have been on the same team with him and to even share the field with him now.''
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 members of the first class of Hall of Fame inductees in 1936.
The Elias Sports Bureau, which is the official record-keeper of Major League Baseball, lists Wagner with 3,430 hits. Baseball-Reference.com has him with 3,420. Either way, Wagner now is seventh on the list.
"It's unbelievable,'' Joe Girardi said. "The people that he has passed, it's unbelievable.''
If Jeter sticks to his plan to retire at the end of the season, Wagner almost certainly will be the final player he passes. Jeter, who has 115 hits in 103 games this season, would need an incredible stretch -- 83 hits in the Yankees' final 46 games -- to tie Tris Speaker, who is fifth at 3,514.
Because of various leg injuries, Jeter was limited to 17 games and 12 hits in 2013. If not for that, he would have been in position to pass Stan Musial (3,630) in 2014 and finish with the fourth-most hits in MLB history.
When Jeter reached base, the sellout crowd at Yankee Stadium gave him a standing ovation and the ball was delivered to Girardi in the dugout. Jeter said he will keep it in "a safe place.''
"It's something I'm extremely proud of,'' he said. "Obviously, I would have liked to have won the game, but it's something I'll be able to tell my kids about. It's one of those 'wow' moments. I know a lot about the history of the game, so I'm well aware of .''
Jeter, 40, is hitting .301 (34-for-113) in 29 games since July 6 and .276 overall.
"This guy has been consistent for us all year long,'' Girardi said. "And there were a lot of questions about where he would be at, but he's played pretty well.''