When you've produced the type of career that Yankee stars Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter have, it seems that every week offers an opportunity for another impressive milestone.
This past week was A-rod's turn, as he enjoyed two milestone moments within several days of each other.
Last weekend against the Red Sox, the Yankee third baseman crushed a home run against Boston starter Clay Buchholz, one of five that they hit off the hurler on the day. The blast was Rodriguez's 631st, which moved him past former Seattle teammate, Ken Griffey Jr. into sole possession of fifth place on baseball's all-time home run list. A-rod now trails Willie Mays by only 27 home runs for fourth place.
A week later, in an eventual 6-2 Yankee victory over the Detroit Tigers, A-rod drove in run during a seventh inning rally with an RBI ground-out. Backup catcher Chris Stewart raced home from third on contact after A-rod grounded a 3-2 pitch to short. With a good jump and a quick, efficient slide, Stewart slid in just under Gerald Laird's tag, stealing the RBI for Rodriguez.
The RBI made the score 4-2, earning the Yankees an insurance run in a close game that should have been further out of reach than it was. Prior to that play, the Yankees had been wasteful with runners on base, repeatedly leaving men on base throughout the game.
Not only critical to the game at hand, the RBI also served to move A-rod ahead of the legendary Mays into tenth on the all-time RBI list. It was Rodriguez's 1,904th RBI and he now is chasing Eddie Murray who is next with 1.917 RBI.
Over the next couple months, A-rod will likely pass all-time greats Jimmie Foxx, Ty Cobb and Stan Musial, placing himself among some of baseball's true luminaries of the game.
With a typically productive season, Rodriguez could potentially climb even further, as the top-five beckons. Currently, he is 91 behind fifth-place Lou Gehrig and 92 behind Barry Bonds who ranks fourth.
It is not out of the question that Rodriguez could challenge Hank Aaron's long-standing record of 2,297, but that will have to wait a few years. With the time left on his contract, it would appear that A-rod stands a chance of chasing the top spot, but baseball has a funny way of cutting short such expectations.
For now, let's leave that dream for another day as we enjoy the day-to-day grind of the early baseball season. With May about to begin, the Yankees face a stretch in which they play 16 of their next 24 games at home, offering a chance for the team to go on a great run, while A-rod strives to produce in order to help propel that effort.
A few weeks of A-rod swinging a hot bat could go a long way toward the Yankees pulling away from some of the pack in the crowded AL East. Within the month, he could even find himself moving ahead of Murray and then Foxx on the RBI list.
Let the chase begin tonight against Baltimore at the stadium.