Sometimes people get punished for being reliable, like if you’re in a big family – maybe you didn’t make the most money, maybe you didn’t get the best grades, but you were the most mature kid, you were the most reliable kid, you had no baggage, your mom and dad in a family crisis could always count on you and you never created a crisis, but you were always there to solve the crisis – you get overlooked. You’re the mature kid, the emotionally solid kid in the big family – you don’t have any drama or any baggage, you don’t get talked about, you’re not needy and you get overlooked! If you’re from a family of 4 or 5 or 6 kids, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
To some degree, that is Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter now needs 2 hits to reach 3,000 hits. So I started a facebook chat discussion Wednesday night – wow, I never knew they all hated Jeter! Literally, I was fighting them off like Captain America with a shield! Every time I’d bring up one of Jeter’s great qualities “ah Andrew, but if he played for the Royals, you’d never know who he was” to which I argue, that if he played for the Royals or Pirates…it’s baseball, 4 years into his career he’d then become a Yankee. By his 2nd contract, he’d be in the Bronx – we know how baseball works. So I message my friends – just to prove a point, against these “Jeter hating friends” I honestly never knew these friends grew up like a block away from Fenway Park, because there was just no objectivity.
They have Jeter somewhere between Craig Reynolds and Freddy Patek – I mean; they literally had him penciled in as the 837th best shortstop in the America League East…ever! I think Jeter is amazing and I think he’s the kid in the huge family that is always good in the clutch, no emotional baggage, he never gets credit for it, it never shows up on a boxscore, but he’s never a headcase, he in fact has to babysit half the team in crisis.
So I went and found out – Jeter is going to become the 28th guy to get 3,000 hits and to prove to my friends just how good Jeter is, I researched all 27 guys before him who reached the milestone and I said to them “you watch, he’ll be better than half of them – and these are some of the best players to ever play the game” Willie Mays, Hank Aaron.
So the first guy to get 3,000 hits was Cap Anson, he got his 3,000th hit in 1897…seriously though, who did he get that hit’s off? Hobo’s and stray cats!! I think back then you just signed up at the ballpark to pitch that night. So I’m going to go with Jeter is better than Cap Anson. I don’t think, historically, he’s better than Honus Wagner – who was the 2nd guy to get it and who is arguably the best shortstop ever. I do think Jeter was better than Nap Lajoie, who basically – we’ve got a cap and a nap in the first 3 player’s lol. Nap Lojoie believe it or not, was not the name of a hard candy “have yourself a Nap Lojoie!” he was a real ballplayer.
Now Ty Cobb – alrighty then, we’d all acknowledge that Jeter is not Ty Cobb – so after 4 people, it’s 2-2. I argue he’s better than Tris Speaker, now it should be noted that my favourite speaker is a subwoofer – so I have a little bias, but I’m 3-2 Jeter. Jeter is better than Eddie Collins – Phil’s less musically inclined brother and Paul Waner. Right now, 5-2 through 7!
Now it gets a little dicier…Stan Musial, I’d take Jeter but my facebook friends argued vehemently, we go with Musial. Hank Aaron and Willie Mays…those two get the nod, no argument from me. I’ll take Jeter over Roberto Clemente – whose life was tragically ended early and I’ll take him over power hitting Al Kaline, who was really more one dimensional. I’ll give you Pete Rose but I’ll take him against Lou Brock and Carl Yastrzemski – who had 3,000 more at bats to get similar numbers. I’ll give you Ricky Henderson and Rod Carew begrudgingly, even though I don’t believe it. He’s better though then Robin Yount, George Brett is one of my favourite player ever , so I’ll go Brett over Jeter – but he’s better than Dave Winfield, Eddie Murray, Paul Molitor. I’ll give you Gwynn, Jeter is better than Wade Boggs, I’ll give you Cal Ripken and Ricky Henderson, but he’s better than Rafael Palmeiro and Craig Biggio and at the end…Guess what? Jeter is better than 15 of the players and worse than 12 and that’s me giving you guys I don’t wanna give you!
What I think happens to Jeter – and this happens all the time, he doesn’t have a unique batting stance like Rod Carew, he’s not amazing at any one thing like Tony Gwynn, who virtually never struck out. He didn’t win a Triple Crown like Carl Yastrzemski; he wasn’t wacky and corky like Ricky Henderson who played forever.
But when you stack them up – I stacked up Carew, Gwynn and Henderson. In games? Jeter played fewer than all of them yet he’s 2nd in runs, 2nd in HR’s, 1st in RBI’s 2nd in slugging percentage. Other than Tony Gwynn, he’s pretty even on strikeouts with the other 3 players. He’s also played in the toughest division out of all of those players and for the longest. He’s been in pressure pack New York. Yet the thing about Derek Jeter that I really appreciate is that – much like the kid in the gigantic family, who you can just pencil in every year, he never misses school, no headaches, doesn’t knock up his girlfriend, he’s just their everyday to be a great kid, get a 3.3 GPA, go to a great university, become a wonderful accountant and yes, perhaps Derek Jeter is sorta boring – but I’ll take that guy in my company any day of the week over a flashy A-rod, over a wackado Ricky Henderson, over a guy with more awards!