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Did You Know? – Derek Jeter and Red Sox Shortstops

Last week, New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter announced that he would retire at the end the 2014 baseball season after 20 years in baseball. The Yankees captain and future first ballot Hall of Fame candidate has been a fixture in the New York lineup since 1996, playing an average of 144 games per season; that figure jumps to 153 if you discount his injury-plagued 2013 campaign in which he managed just 17 games due to injury.

His career appearances at shortstop is by and far the most by a player in a Yankees uniform; Phil Rizzuto is a distant second with 1647 appearances, while Frankie Crosetti is third with 1516. He has also played the most games of anyone in a Yankees uniform, 2602, which is over 200 more than the great Mickey Mantle.

In contrast, over the same time period, the shortstop position has been remarkably fluid for the Boston Red Sox, especially since 2004 when the team traded away perennial All-Star Nomar Garciaparra to the Chicago Cubs at the deadline. Since 2005, no player has held that role for longer than two seasons and only one player has started at least 150 games in a single season.

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Boston Red Sox Are Post-Season Bound

Thanks to a three-run ninth courtesy of Jason Varitek’s game-tying home run and Julio Lugo’s two-run shot three batters later, the Red Sox’s come-from-behind win on Saturday night at Tropicana Field over the Devil Rays, coupled with the Detroit Tigers’s 7-4 loss at Comerica Park to Kansas City, gave Boston its first trip to the post-season in two years, the team’s third October in four years, and the club’s sixth post-season appearance in the last ten seasons. The final standings are yet to be determined, as Boston is two games ahead of New York for the lead in the American League East at the end of play Monday with six games left in the season. The Red Sox will be home all week at Fenway Park, hosting Oakland for an abbreviated two-game series before concluding the season with a four-game tilt against Minnesota. Meanwhile, the Yankees, who have gone 47-22 since the All-Star break and won 15 of 21 in September to close a five-game difference entering the month to just two games, will be on the road this week visiting Tampa Bay for three games before finishing the season in Baltimore over the weekend.

With a 5-1/2 game lead in the AL Wild Card race and Detroit fading fast, New York is almost guaranteed a playoff spot for the 13th straight season, having made the post-season every year since 1995 when divisional series play began. The Yankees have also won the AL East division nine straight seasons, with the Red Sox finishing second in eight of those first nine years. As for Boston, the team has a chance at its first division title since 1995, finishing that season seven games in front of New York with the second-best record in the American League; unfortunately, the Red Sox were swept out of the first round of playoffs by the Cleveland Indians in three games.