Derek Jeter is a great player, a Hall of Famer. He's due a tremendous amount of credit for being part of an historically great Yankees team. He made big plays in big games, he surpassed 3,000 hits, he'll retire with a career average above .300, and right now his career OBP is an impressive .381.
That being said, I don't want to see another farewell tour of opposing teams sucking his knee caps, like what happened with Mariano Rivera last season.
There's a difference between Rivera and Jeter. Rivera was the best ever at his job. Jeter is not. If Rivera failed in big games, the Yankees lost. If Jeter failed, someone else could step up and hit. And I also don't want to see what happened with Rivera last year, which was somewhat spontaneous, become a required tradition whenever future Hall of Famers announce retirements.
As great as Derek Jeter is, he's still overrated. And more overrated than most great athletes. This is from the New York Daily News:
"In so many ways, there has not been a Yankee who mattered more to the Yankees than Derek Jeter, not since Babe Ruth."
So that means that Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle didn't mean as much as Derek Jeter? Really? Really!?!
The media spent years making Derek Jeter the posterboy of Yankees' success. They gave him the lion's share of the credit for 5 World Series wins. Now they're praising him for being the "face" of the organization, even though they, along with fans, were the ones who made him the face, by centering their attention solely on him
Like I said, Jeter is great. He's just not on that stratospheric level of all-time greatness. He hit 256 homeruns in the most offense friendly era in the game's history. Nomar Garciaparra hit 229 in 5 fewer seasons. He never won an MVP although he came close twice. He never won a batting title. He twice led the league in hits, but never led in any other category except plate appearances and at-bats. He won 5 Gold Gloves and some of them were deserved.
His .312 average is 84th all-time, he's 162nd in OBP, 190th in homeruns, 112th in stolen bases, 430th all-time in slugging (.0003 ahead of Mike Lieberthal), and 263rd in OPS (.0002 ahead of Mike Stanley, .0004 behind Trot Nixon).
I know his greatness wasn't in the numbers. He won the 2000 World Series MVP. He was the Captain of World Series winners (in a sport that the captain has essentially no duties). He once made a play against Oakland. He dove into the stands on Sunday Night Baseball. He hit 20 postseason homeruns, and knocked in 61 postseason RBI. Then again he played in 158 playoff games, and 61 RBI in 158 games isn't amazing. Is it?
Put Jeter in the Hall. He belongs there. Praise him. Even overpraise him. You've all been overpraising him for 19 years, let's do it one more time.
I just don't want any more lovefests. Especially not for Jeter. I don't want the Orioles and Mariners having special presentations for an opposing player. Not again. He's respected and appreciated all over baseball. Everyone knows it. HE knows it. We don't need the White Sox giving him a commemorative cuckoo clock and the Angels giving him a pinstriped breadmaker.
Let the Yankees honor Derek Jeter. Let the media praise him as they've done for two decades. Let the $265 million he'll have earned from baseball serve as his thanks and appreciation.
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