This is not a knock against Derek Jeter, who has been a credit to his franchise and the game since 1995, and who has never been anything but courteous and professional in his dealings with me (and everybody else I knew). This is not, in fact, about Jeter.
But I wish there would be a little more emphasis of the caveat in all of the discussion of Jeter’s having reached within four hits of breaking Lou Gehrig’s Yankees franchise record of 2,721, that Gehrig stopped accumulating them when he was 35 years old, because he contracted a fatal disease that would claim his life.
I made this point years ago, as Cal Ripken approached Gehrig’s consecutive games played streak. It needs to be said again that Gehrig didn’t stop because of loss of talent, or retirement, or failure. And most remarkably of all, it should be emphasized that at least the last 174 of Gehrig’s hits (just as was the case for at least the last 165 of his games played), certainly came after Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis had already begun to kill him.
Again, nothing to take away from Jeter’s accomplishments. Just a reminder of the remarkable quality of Gehrig’s, and that as time guarantees that his name will become harder and harder to find in the record books, he should never be forgotten.