Likely due to the lack of action this offseason, Yankees Twitter has been flooded with the debate this past week over who the better player/Yankee was, Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez. As we know, the two were teammates from ’04-’14 and played side by side in the infield in those years. The two ex-teammates have entirely different reputations within the organization. A-Rod’s steroid usage put a blemish on his Yankees and MLB legacy.
Once called up, Jeter made an immediate impact on the team. He helped lead the Yankees to six World Series, and won the World Series MVP in 2000. His leadership, work ethic, and ability to come up clutch are just a few reasons why he’s revered by fans.
After being traded prior to the ’04 season, A-Rod won two MVP’s with the Yankees, had seven All-Star appearances, and his ’09 playoff heroics are a major reason the Yankees won the World Series that year. During the 2009 playoffs in 15 games, A-Rod batted .365 with 6 home runs and 15 RBIs. A-Rod’s steroid usage ultimately dethroned his legacy and reputation with some fans.
I’m not going to sit here and pick one player over the other. You can make a case for both players. Jeter was a true captain and had many signature moments as a Yankee. He is is Mr. November, he always played his heart out and made many unforgettable plays. A-Rod led the Yankees to numerous division titles, played stellar defense after moving from SS to 3B and was as clutch as can be in ’09.
We should be happy we were lucky enough to watch these two play side by side in the same infield for over 10 years. Who were two superstars the Mets were lucky enough to have on their team at the same time in recent years? David Wright and Jose Reyes are the only ones that come to mind and that’s a laughable comparison.
These two players meant so much to the Yankees and the fact that we were lucky to have two all-time greats on the same team at the same time should be something we just appreciate. Too often, we compare athletes to others instead of just appreciating the individual player they are. Everyone is their own person with their individual skillset, achievements and road taken to get to where they are. Before Kobe Bryant passed away last year, so much time was wasted debating where he ranked all time. Many people did not take the time to appreciate the impact he had on LA, the Lakers and the entire new generation of players who were inspired by him and his work ethic.
A-Rod, Jeter — thank you for your contributions to the Yankees and the memories you created for all of us.
As we know, it’s been a historically slow offseason. The lack of news is making us itch to talk about anything baseball related. Hopefully it picks up soon so we can put all of these pointless player debates behind us.
If you disagree with my take on this, drop a response or tweet me @sashalueck and let me know why.