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Confident, respectful and as graceful as one of his jump throws from the hole, Jeter won four World Series championships in his first five years. He's noted for playing with a team-first, win-at-all-cost attitude -- remember the catch and bloody dive into the stands against Boston.
"He respects the game, he does everything the right way," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "I'm a huge fan of his except for when he's hitting."
Major League Baseball plans to have a representative in attendance when Jeter reaches the mark, and at least a dozen licenses for gear commemorating the event will be issued. Jeter's Turn 2 Foundation is marking the occasion with DJ3K bracelets, and the Hall of Fame has talked to him about acquiring game-used mementoes from the day.
"Three thousand hits is pretty good," Yankees great Yogi Berra said in an e-mail. "But I think Jeter cares more about winning than the other stuff."
Always preferring to deflect attention away from himself and onto his teammates, Jeter has been reluctant to talk about the pursuit. He has said he does feel pressure to reach the mark at home, as he did in 2009 when he passed Gehrig for most career hits as a Yankee.
"I'd be lying to you if I told you I haven't been thinking about it," Jeter said after moving within seven hits Sunday. "It's impossible for that not to be in your head, because I'm around that all the time."
Winfield said the Minnesota Twins held him out of the lineup on the road several times, something he understood but wasn't happy about, in order for the University of Minnesota star to notch the historic hit in front of his hometown fans.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi is doing everything he can to keep Jeter in the lineup before he club begins a road trip to Chicago and Cincinnati on June 17.
Returning home from a West Coast trip needing 14 hits in 10 games, Jeter has gone 7 for 28 (.250) in the first six.
Craig Biggio, the last to reach 3,000 in June 2007, understands how those last few can be the hardest.
"I was just grinding and working and not thinking about the number and just going out there playing and trying to win baseball games," the former Houston star said. "Then you get your hits along the way, scratch some off and finally get there. It's an exciting time."
When he does add Mr. 3,000 to the list of nicknames he's earned -- Captain Clutch, Mr. November -- Jeter will be in some good company, at least until his next hit. He will tie Roberto Clemente, whose namesake award he won for excellence on the field and service off it in 2009.
"That's quite a welcome to the club," Charles Jeter said. "Not only in terms of baseball accomplishments but for his legacy."
Once thought to have a chance at becoming just the third player with 4,000 hits, a more realistic number may be 3,500 -- only five have done that.
"That's ways off," Winfield said. "There's a lot that can happen."
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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