New York Yankee Derek Jeter joined an exclusive baseball club when he got his 3,000 base hit on July 9, 2011. A month earlier, 3,000-hit-club member Tony Gwynn had advised Jeter, “Fortunately, Rod Carew and George Brett both told me the same thing, ‘The last 10 are kind of difficult to get.’” (Carew got his 3,000th hit in 1985; Brett in 1992; Gwynn in 1999.)
It’s not known who first said that the last few hits to 3,000 are the hardest ones to get. Cal Ripkin, Jr. said in April 2000, “I can see why some one would say the last few are the hardest ones to get.”
Wikipedia: 3,000 hit club
In Major League Baseball (MLB), the 3,000 hit club is a term applied to the group of batters who have collected 3,000 or more regular-season hits in their careers
Google News Archive
12 September 1979, Tuscaloose (AL) News, pg. 24, col. 4:
The next 3,000 will be easier
By The Associated Press
The first 3.000 hits are the hardest, says Carl Yastrzemski. And you know what? he isn’t joking.
In what must have seemed like an eternity to the Boston Red Sox veteran, Yastrzemski was shut out 12 straight times in search of his 3,000th career hit.
Google News Archive
16 April 2000, Florence (AL) TimesDaily, pg. 4C, col. 4:
Ripken collects 3,000th hit
in victory against Twins
By Arnie Stapleton
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
“You just have to deal with it, plow through and get those hits,” he said recently. “I can see why some one would say the last few are the hardest ones to get.”
Gwynn to Jeter: Next 10 hits will be the hardest
Hall of Famer remembers his quest to join exclusive club
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com | 06/10/11 12:36 PM ET
SAN DIEGO—Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn has this message for Derek Jeter as he approaches the highly coveted 3,000-hit mark: The last 10 are the hardest to get.
“Getting to 2,990 was simple,” Gwynn said this week as the Yankees captain and shortstop closed in on the magic number. “Those last 10 are hard to get, because your thinking changes. All along you’re just grinding it out, trying to hit the ball hard, trying to do things right. But as you get closer to it you try to cheat to get hits. People are coming to see you get hits, so it gets a little bit tougher.
“Fortunately, Rod Carew and George Brett both told me the same thing, ‘The last 10 are kind of difficult to get.’”