I have some thoughts on the last couple of days and what better way to express them than right here! I created some big Twitter fights on Sunday, and I’m not really proud of it, so let me put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and say what needs to be said.
First off, Derek Jeter is a Hall of Famer. First ballot. No questions asked. He’s one of the best offensive shortstops to ever play the sport of baseball.
Jeter could’ve been Clint Frazier out there and posting absurd posts on MySpace or whatever people preferred back in the 2000s and it wouldn’t have made a difference. Sure, his defense was pretty bad, and I still stand by that statement because that’s what my eyes tell me, and the facts back it up, but that’s irrelevant right now.
I get it. People have a problem with what I’m saying because I’m 22 years old and didn’t really get to witness the beginning years of his career with a legitimate eye, per se, because I was a toddler during the dynasty years and in elementary and middle school during the middle years. I still believe that we can have civil discourse about the whole thing, but, again, that’s not what the point of this column is.
I’m not going to throw a bunch of numbers that I would usually use like DRS, UZR/150, and RngR at y’all and try to prove that point. I’ve tried that, but it’s not the right place to do that right now. It’s tiring people out. I get it. Who really cares? None of y’all. So, that’s not what we’re here for.
Derek Jeter was THE CAPTAIN. Everyone and their mother knows that. He was an integral part of five World Series title teams. This man is about to be voted into the Hall of Fame.
I should’ve taken a different approach to all of this. Again, yes, I still believe what I believe, because I feel that the facts back that up, but this isn’t how Jeter’s road to the Hall of Fame in the winter of 2019-2020 should be viewed.
He’s a legend. I wore No. 2 growing up because of him. I didn’t wear it because he was my favorite player (sorry Alex Rodriguez was and I’m not ashamed of that), but because he was THE CAPTAIN. You wore it because of him. Dang, even Troy Tulowitzki wore it because of him… the OG himself.
Jeter meant so much to the Yankees’ fanbase and to baseball as a whole. The No. 2 will always go hand in hand with Derek Jeter.
It was never my intention to “tarnish” Jeter’s legacy, but the more and more I brought up his defense, the more of a disservice I did to a guy that meant more than just the numbers in front of us.
You should never just single out a few plays in a player’s career to say if they are great or not. The sample sizes are usually a bad use of data.
However, Jeter was the kind of guy that had those kinds of memorable plays that are each their own chapters in his illustrious 20-year major-league career.
The Jeffrey Maier Home Run. The Jump Throw. The Flip. Mr. November. The Catch In The Stands.
You can easily pinpoint those moments. That’s just how memorable they were and just how memorable of a player he was. 14-time All-Star. Five-time Silver Slugger winner. Rookie of the Year. All-Star Game MVP. Dang, even the voters loved him so much they gave him five Gold Glove awards. He did it all.
Sure, he wasn’t the perfect player, but he was the perfect player to don pinstripes. The perfect player to lead the Yankees. The perfect player to have the spotlight on. He was the man, the myth, the legend. A Yankees’ great. A baseball great.
Again, it’s Jeter’s time. Sure, I feel like other guys should get in along with Jeter, but here’s the big thing: No other player in the running, outside of Barry Bonds, had the cultural impact on the game as Jeter did.
When you think shortstop, you think Jeter, even with the questionable defense. When you think Yankees’ captains… baseball captains… you think of No. 2.
When a guy has had that much of an impact on the game, the whole “keeping the Hall of Fame small” debate has legs, at least for this upcoming season. With the kind of career Jeter had, and the impact he had on the generation that watched him, he should have his own day. He just meant that much to the Yankees fanbase and baseball.
I’m excited to see him join Mariano Rivera in the ranks of greatness. He undoubtedly deserves it. When he gets inducted, I will know that my childhood is officially over. One of the most influential players on my favorite team growing up is going into the Hall of Fame. Yes, I’m young. We’ve established that, but it’s all just so crazy to me.
DEREK JETER IS GOING TO BE A HALL OF FAMER.
Sure, I could keep whining about his defensive stats, even if the facts are there to support it, but who cares at this point really? IT’S DEREK BLEEPING JETER TIME! I’m going to do the thoughtful thing… the RIGHT thing.
No more “Jeter was a bad defender” talk from me anymore. I know, y’all are used to me hating on all the “good” ones and using my nerdy advanced stats. I rather just focus on why he was a great one right now. That’s what we should all do.
3,465 career hits. Five World Series rings. 96.3 Offensive WAR.
Derek Jeter… Hall of Fame, Class of 2020. #RE2PECT