By last year's All-Star break, it appeared that future Hall of Fame shortstop Derek Jeter was starting to lose his battle against time, the most implacable, determined foe that all athletes face.
Jeter's 2010 season at 36 years old, a .270 AVG/.340 OBP/.370 SLG line, was still an acceptable performance for a shortstop, but it was his worst offensive performance in the majors since his little cup of coffee as a 21-year-old in 1995. Last season was looking like more of the same, with Jeter's numbers standing at .270/.330/.353 after the first half of the season.
Since that nadir in Jeter's fortunes -- or local minimum for the nerdier of us -- Jeter's battle against the clock has been considerably more successful, as he hit .327/.383/.428 in the second half of 2011 and is hitting .321/.363/.450 this year -- essentially classic Jeter numbers.
At 175 hits this season, Jeter's an injury-free September away from finishing the season with more than 200 hits, and with currently 14 more hits than Miguel Cabrera, he's likely to lead the American League in hits for the second time in his career. Though 38, standing at 3,300 hits puts Jeter in an interesting position in the records department, with a realistic shot at 4,000 career hits and a small chance of catching Pete Rose's all-time hits record.