He has moments that will live forever. A resume that makes him a sure fire Hall of Famer and does it all under the bright lights of New York City. One would be hard-pressed to find a more difficult place to play, than in New York for the Yankees. The media capital of the world also comes with the expectations of 27 championships and a long legendary line of Hall of Famers. But that’s been the reality for this generation’s face of the franchise, Derek Jeter. His 5 rings highlight credentials that speak for themselves as Jeter has maintained super star status both on and off the field in the city that never sleeps.
Yes you know exactly what I’m saying. But all kidding aside; for 20 seasons now Derek Jeter has run ‘his’ town, while also writing the blueprint for what it means to be a franchise player. Over that period of time there have been some detractors (or haters as the kids say) that will tell you that Derek Jeter is over rated because he plays for the Yankees. This argument never really made sense to me, because wouldn’t it be more difficult to play under the immense pressure of the NYC media and the unrealistic championship or bust expectations? Wouldn’t that be harder to do than say, playing for the Houston Astros? Shouldn’t he get more credit for doing it big for a team that plays important games each and every night, as opposed to a larger part of the league that finds themselves out of the race by mid June. The Yankees have only missed the playoffs twice in his entire career and there aren’t many teams in all of professional sports that can boast that kind of consistency.
Not only has he achieved a “god-level” of team success, but despite the detractors of his 5 gold gloves, his numbers are real. He currently sits 9th on the all-time hits list and could be as high as 6th by season’s end. He’s one of 6 players to make it to 3000 hits in 17 seasons or less and is the only player ever to have at least 10 seasons of 190 hits and double digit totals in home runs and stolen bases. Maybe the the steroid era has negatively changed our overall perception of what it means to be a “great hitter”. And if that’s the case, then Derek Jeter is the exception or as a wise man named Shawn Carter once said “Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t”. But for arguments sake, even when you remove the numbers, Jeter’s career still seems more like something out of a movie. Sorry Hov, but the man simply known as “The Captain” is actually the one that made the Yankee Hat famous.
He has the fame, scrutiny, but lack of controversy of Kobe Bryant. The longevity and humble leadership of Tim Duncan and most importantly the rings to match both. He’s had his fair share of “Gisele’s” but with the foresight (some would say) to not get married (yet). His career has coincided with the evolution of the TMZ era and yet the only thing to ever come out about him is that he sends girls home in a limo with a gift basket. He is the definition of a ‘G’ and the only athlete that I can think of that comes close to entering Michael Jordan’s ultimate level of cool. Jordan Brand did it again, as this commercial perfectly sums up the RESPECT that Derek Jeter has earned through out his career.
So when you add it all up, the clutch hits, iconic defensive plays, the story book moments (3000 th hit etc.) and yes his swag filled off field persona, Derek Jeter shouldn’t just go down as one of the greatest Yankees of all time. Hate it or love it, in a sport still fighting its way through the ugly clouds of the steroid era, Derek Sanderson Jeter continues to shine bright and should go down as one of the best baseball players ever….period.
Just my thoughts, right or wrong. Just how I’m feeling at the time.