One of the greatest hitters of all time, Ted “Ballgame” Williams said: “The hardest thing to do in baseball is to hit a round baseball with a round bat, Squarely.” Over the last twenty years no ball player has done that better than Derek Jeter. Currently sitting at 3449 hits and projected to finish this season and his career as number 6 on the all time hits list and provided he didn’t slide into a freak injury in the 2012 playoffs, Jeter very well could have moved to number 4. He has a career batting average of .310 and is responsible for 3217 runs. He is a guaranteed first ballot hall of famer and yet often individuals use the term “overrated” when they speak of him.
I can think of only one reason any individual would make this statement, they don’t believe in winning, they prefer the thrill of a homerun over the grind of a full season. In a culture I like to call “The A.D.D. “ we lose interest in the game during the lulls. These lulls are where Jeter is so successful, where he wins. His ability to understand the game on both sides of the ball, to foul off a pitch over and over to work up the pitch count or to adjust his placement on the defense to cut off a ball up the middle. Jeter sits at number ten on the all time list for SS in the category of W.A.R. (wins above replacement) so is he overrated…no, but both sides have to stop making Jeter someone he is not. Derek Jeter is not the greatest SS of all time, he’s not the greatest Yankee of all time, and he’s not some chump that is just lucky because he is a Yankee. In regards to being the greatest SS, its hard to rank him against Honus Wagner and Cal Ripken Jr., there is no way to definitely say he is better then them, but you can say he ranks up there with them. As for greatest Yankee, I can only say one name and that is Lou Gehrig. Sure that list expands fast if you open up Pandora’s box but if you’ve read this far you know the rest of the list. As for those that think he’s lucky to be on the Yankees which have allowed him to win his five rings, then you forget that the George Steinbrenner era of Yankee baseball has no problem firing any player, manager, or coach that doesn’t lead them to success. Jeter was the cornerstone of the teams from 1996-2001. He’s a winner and he won in an era that was more enamored with homeruns then winning. Due to this steroidal era of baseball Jeter’s ability to play the game right, to be a team player goes unnoticed by many. So for the next 23 games I suggest everyone just appreciate the opportunity to watch a hall of famer that has played this game with love with trueness, grit, and heart that matches the best of them…of all time. Now hold on while I book my hotel for Cooperstown in 2019.
Original Oil Painting by: Jamie Cooper
Check him and the story behind this scene at: http://yankeesdreamscene.com/
"Grantland Rice, the great sportswriter once said, 'It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game.' Well Grantland Rice can go to hell as far as I'm concerned." -Gene Autry