Today, September 11, 2009, Derek Jeter became the all-time hit leader for the New York Yankees. For the past few weeks I scoffed and puckered my lips at any mention of a number two seeded Lou Gehrig and had my mind set that I would never place Jeter in the same class as a Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson, Cy Young, Hank Aaron, Joe DiMaggio, etc. I was prompted to actually look at the numbers this evening and prove myself wrong. If you’re an avid reader of this blog (or even if you’re skimming through it for the first time) you already know I have a penchant for stats so bear with me through this:
I couldn’t help but notice the obvious – Derek Jeter is not only going to enjoy his place on the record boards for a long, long time but he is just going to continue to widen the gap between himself and the legends of Yankee Stadium. His playing time is comparable to Babe Ruth’s and yet his hits still outnumber the Babe’s by over 200 (well above a season average for any player).
Let’s break Jeter’s number down for just this season (mainly because now that I’m into this entry I’m curious):
I suppose if you’re going to be “out played” by 46 other players and still absolutely dominate the stats that actually matter you deserve to be considered among the greats.
We haven’t even gotten to the best part yet: Derek Jeter is only 35 years old. Now I don’t know if it’s the economy & the fear of being the next Lenny Dykstra living out of his car or if physical therapy is so advanced that playing baseball professionally can be close to a life-long career anymore, but if players like Jamie Moyer, Roger Clemens & Randy Johnson can play into their mid-forties surely Jeter can squeeze a few more years out of that jersey and one day be considered the greatest Yankee of all-time.
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