In his penultimate year with the Yankees in 1933, Babe Ruth -- in his age-38 season -- composed his final great season. Although he led the American Leagues in just one major offensive category, walks, he posted a 175 OPS+, which, to this day, is the third highest in the modern era for a player in his age-38 season.
In looking at shortstops in their age-38 seasons, the offensive fireworks are slightly less vibrant. Since 1901, only one shortstop at that age has posted an OPS+ of at least 100 and qualified for the batting title. Not surprisingly, it was arguably the greatest shortstop who ever played in the Major Leagues who did it.
In 1912, Honus Wagner put up a 144, led the NL in RBIs, finished in the top five in eight other top-level offensive categories, and graded out (in multiple systems) as the NL's best player. It was the ninth time Wagner played at least three-quarters of his games at shortstop, qualified for the batting title and finished with an OPS+ of at least 140.
Derek Jeter, who is in his age-38 season and is off to his best 16-game start (by OPS) since 1999, has one year in which he qualified for the batting title and posted an OPS+ of at least 140 -- in 1999, when he was in his age-25 season and put up a 153.
Jeter went 4-for-5 with two runs scored and one RBI in the Yankees' 7-4 win against the Rangers on Monday, improving New York's record to 10-6.
Jeter has had four games this season in which he's had at least three hits. Dating back to 1918, he is one of nine players to have at least four games with three or more hits through the Yankees' first 16 contests, and he has done it twice, the first time being in 1997. The others: Bob Meusel (1921), Whitey Witt (1924), Phil Rizzuto (1952), Norm Siebern (1959), Roger Maris (1960), Rickey Henderson (1988), Alfonso Soriano (2002) and Bernie Williams (2003).
Since the start of last season, Jeter has seven games with four or more hits -- tied with Albert Pujols for the most in the Majors.
The four-hit performance marked the 916th multihit game of Jeter's career, leaving him six shy of tying Willie Mays for the eighth most since 1918.
Jeter's fourth hit, an RBI double in the sixth inning, gave him 1,209 career RBIs and 497 career doubles. The RBI tied Jeter with Bill Dickey for the seventh most in Yankees history, and the two-base hit tied him with teammate Alex Rodriguez for 59th on the all-time doubles list. Among players with at least 75 percent of their career games at shortstop, his 1,209 RBIs are fifth most, and his 497 doubles are third most.
With the two runs scored, Jeter tied and then passed Paul Molitor on the all-time list, and now sits alone in 19th place. He is 15 runs shy of tying Ted Williams for 18th place.
QUICK WITH THE SWITCH
Most hits by a switch-hitter through the first 479 games of a career, since 1918:
Pablo Sandoval hit safely in both games of a doubleheader, giving him at least one hit in each of the Giants' 16 games this season, and 546 knocks in his career.
Sandoval is the first Giants player to collect least one hit in each of a season's first 16 games since Mays in 1960. Sandoval is the first switch-hitter to open the season with hits in each one of his team's first 16 games since Joey Cora of the Mariners in 1998.
Sandoval's 546 hits have come in 479 games. Among switch-hitters since 1918, that hit total through that number of games is tied for eighth most.
In his 359th career appearance, Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia allowed four runs on seven hits in eight innings, struck out eight, and picked up the win to give him 178 career victories. Since 1918, that total through a pitcher's first 359 games is equal to that of Carl Hubbell and Dwight Gooden for the 13th most.
The Cubs had seven hits -- all singles -- in their 3-2 walk-off win against the Cardinals. Chicago has an NL-low five home runs. Since 1916, their first year at Wrigley Field, the Cubs have finished last in the NL in home runs once, in 1948.
Jordan Schafer, who went 2-for-5 in the Astros' 6-5 loss to the Brewers, has reached base via a hit, walk or hit-by-pitch in all 17 games this season. The on-base streak to open a season is the longest by an Astros player since Craig Biggio reached base safely in 17 straight in 2000. The franchise mark for this sort of thing is 25 games, set by Denis Menke in 1969.
Cody Ross homered twice as the visiting Red Sox knocked off the Twins, 6-5. Ross's multi-homer game was the 12th by an opposing player at Target Field, which opened in 2010. The Twins have five multi-homer games there, three of them by Jim Thome.
The Dodgers got three hits and an RBI from Andre Ethier, four hits and three RBIs from Juan Uribe, and seven innings of six-hit, one-run ball from Chris Capuano, and defeated the Braves, 7-2.
Ethier tied teammate Matt Kemp for the Major League lead with 22 RBIs. The combined 44 RBIs through the club's first 17 games is, according to the Dodgers' press notes, the second-most ever in a season's first 17 games, behind the 45 RBIs delivered by Ron Cey (27) and Steve Garvey (18) in 1977.
The Dodgers' 13-4 start is their best through 17 games since the 1983 club began 13-4.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.