Yesterday Yankees captain Derek Jeter reached the 3,000 career hit mark in his 17th Major League season. I’ve never been one to put Jeter on too high a pedestal and have regularly railed against his flashy but bad play at shortstop (in fact, the debate about whether Jeter is overrated or underrated has becoming so confusing that it’s hard to tell what’s the lash and what’s the backlash — but I am pretty clear on the rum and sodomy parts).
But don’t get me wrong, I do have great respect for his taste in women.
Anyway, yesterday Jeter became the very first Yankees player in history to get to the 3,000 hit mark. And he did it in style, going 5 for 5 with a stolen base, and the 3,000th hit itself was a solid home run. So give credit where credit is due. The dude is good, and historically good. He may be the 28th guy to reach 3,000 hits, but 28 ain’t many in baseball history, going back to Cap Anson, who hit the mark in 1897.
One other interesting Yankees-related tidbit before I go. On the radio this morning I heard a story about the genesis of Yankees theme song “New York, New York.” It’s not quite the Spite House, but it’s pretty good.
Rick Beyer ‘s new book is called The Greatest Music Stories Never Told: 100 Tales from Music History to Astonish, Bewilder and Stupefy. Beyer’s favorite of the 100 anecdotes involves the 1977 Martin Scorsese film New York, New York. Scorsese brought in John Kander and Fred Ebb, the songwriting team behind Cabaret, to write some original songs for the movie’s soundtrack.
“They come in to play the songs they’ve written,” says Beyer. “Scorsese is there, and the lead actor, a guy named De Niro, is also in the room. They play the music and Scorsese likes it, but De Niro doesn’t like the title song they’ve come up with and he says, ‘Can you try again?’ These composers are quite famous, and they can’t believe that some actor would try to tell them how to write a song. So they said, ‘Fine, if you don’t like this, we’ll dash something else off,’ and they dashed off another song in an hour.”
That song? “New York, New York,” which became the city’s unofficial anthem and one of Frank Sinatra’s biggest hits. “It was written,” says Beyer, “in anger at Robert De Niro.”