Back before the baseball season began, I put together a little catalog of Yankees milestones to watch out for this season. Now that the season is about to end, I thought it would be interesting to go back and see what happened with each of them.
Mariano Rivera, 400 saves. Mariano made this milestone right on schedule, in mid-July, against the defending champion White Sox. Mariano is without a doubt one of the greatest closers, if not the very best closer, who ever played the game. It has been a blessing and a delight to watch him through his career, and he's been my favorite Yankee since he was blowing away hitters as John Wetteland's set-up man in 1996.
Randy Johnson, 4500 strikeouts; Mike Mussina, 2500 strikeouts. Despite having a sub-par year - by his standards - Randy Johnson picked up his 4500th strikeout in mid-August against the Angels. He and Roger Clemens will jockey for second place on the all-time list, behind the untouchable Nolan Ryan, until one of them actually retires for good. Mussina picked up his 2500th as well, against Florida at the end of June, and as I thought he might, he's broken into the top 25 all time.
Jason Giambi, 1000 walks; 1000 runs scored. Giambi ran hot and cold this season, but one thing about Giambi is that even when his bat is off he still always takes his walks. He did pick up his 1000th walk (though I can't find the date right now). He got his 1000th run too - against the Red Sox, during "The Weekend" - the series in August when the Yankees put the Red Sox away for by taking five games in four days at Fenway Park.
Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, 2000 hits. Jeter reached his milestone in May, early in what turned out to be one of the finest seasons of his career, and one in which he has a good chance to take home the AL MVP award. Alex Rodriguez has been much maligned this season - and though his aggregate numbers are good I suppose he has arguably struggled in some big spots - but he got his 2000th hit too, in July against Toronto, and that hit also happened to be is 450th home run. That made him the youngest player ever to reach 450 homers. The miracle it would have taken for Johnny Damon to reach 2000 hits did not occur - though he had an excellent year as well, he'll have to wait until 2007 to hit that milestone.
Johnny Damon, 300 stolen bases. Johnny picked up his 300th steal handily, but I can't find a news piece on it so I'm not sure precisely when it happened.
Gary Sheffield, 1500 runs scored, 2500 hits, 1500 RBIs. These are the only milestones I identified in my pre-season post that the Yankees didn't achieve. Sheffield went down with an injury in June and only just returned to the lineup this week. He won't make 1500 runs or 2500 hits this season. When he got hurt, though, he stood at 1495 RBIs - and with seven games to play, he might yet make it to the 1500 mark.
All in all, not a bad year for these guys. The true test, though, begins in another week.