Friday, September 2, 2011

Saving the best for last

Last night Mariano Rivera notched his 595th career save. Assuming eveything goes according to the Yankees' plan, the Bombers' closer should earn his 600th by season's end.

Earlier this summer, Derek Jeter collected his 3,000th hit — the first Yankee in the team's illustrious history to reach that milestone.

So, I wonder, what mark is actually the bigger milestone.

Reaching 3,000 hits is the standard when it comes to Hall of Fame induction. Of the 28 who have reached that mark, only Jeter, Pete Rose, Craig Biggio and Rafael Palmeiro are not in the Hall. Jeter and Biggio are not yet eligible for Hall consideration, Rose remains banned from baseball for betting on the sport and Palmeiro tested positive for steroids.

Only one other closer, Trevor Hoffman, has saved more games (601) than Rivera. And Hoffman figures to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer when he is eligible.

Both marks are historical, but I'll take the saves milestone over 3,000 hits. 600 saves equals 600 victories and, in the end, isn't that what team sports is all about?

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