Derek Jetuhhhh

By
Updated: September 22, 2014

Derek Jeter or Jetuhhhh as Bob Shepherd would so eloquently announce on the Yankee PA system is always the topic of debate.  And usually there’s no middle ground. Fans and members of the media often proclaim:

“He’s Overrated”

“He’s Underrated”

“He’s Wonderful”

“He’s not that Wonderful”

What’s that, he’s all of the above?  How is that possible? Calm down, I’m getting to it.

 

Derek Jeter is Overrated

How many times have you heard that Jeter is a winner?  Would Jeter still be a winner if he wasn’t surrounded by talent at every position, including arguably the greatest closer of all time (topic for another blog)?

Jeter performed well on the big stage because he was able to maintain his consistent impressive regular season performance during the post season (not an easy feat).

However, did his bat ever carry the Yankees to the championship?  Dominance by one player in baseball isn’t easy given the number of players and lack of impact one person can make (pitcher aside).

Yet when dominance arises, it is typically attributed to a player putting up insane statistics which often times include great power numbers (not the Jeterian singles and doubles).  I admit that Jeter had the flair for the dramatic in big spots. However, let’s not confuse flair with dominance.

On a different note, Jeter has 5 gold gloves despite never having great range.  While he constantly made the routine plays, his defense will never be confused with that of Ozzie Smith.

 

Jeter is Underrated

Just because he isn’t Ruth, DiMaggio, Gehrig or Mantle doesn’t mean he isn’t an all time great Yankee or player for that matter.  Yes his 3,450 hits and counting during his 20 seasons in pinstripes are impressive. Yet what is even more impressive is that he is no compiler.  Drum roll please:

12 seasons he batted 300/+. Sometimes “+” can signify a few points over the benchmark statistic. Not in Jeter’s case.

  • 2 seasons over 340
  • 4 season over 330
  • 7 seasons over 320

Furthermore, in the 4 seasons he didn’t hit 300 he hit 290/+.  Thus, he only had a few subpar seasons mainly due to father time, which skewed downward his lifetime batting average to a still impressive 305+/-.

Virtually every season of his career he had close to 180 hits/+.  Furthermore, 8 of these seasons he had over 200 hits (11 seasons he had over 190 hits).

He also scored over 100 runs in virtually every season.  While this is partially attributed to playing on good teams, a player still needs to get on base a lot (Jeter’s lifetime on base percentage is 375).

While not a power hitter, he typically would hit 10 to 20 home runs and drive in 65 to 75 runs per season. 65 to 75 RBI’s batting leadoff or second is an acceptable stat especially since he didn’t take PED’s during the PED era.

I’ve often wondered if Jeter took PED’s and AROD hadn’t, how their career numbers would’ve ended up.

 

Jeter is Wonderful

Jeter is the consummate team player who always said and did the right thing on and off the field.  How many star athletes in NYC can maintain a pristine image 20 years?  He’s always had respect for the pinstripes, Yankee management, and the fans.

 

Jeter is Not That Wonderful

Why has the media anointed Jeter as Gandhi wearing pinstripes?  Yes he conducted himself with dignity and said the right things.  We know he has great parents because we are reminded every time they are shown in the stands.  Yet no one is perfect nor should they be.  He’s human like the rest of us.

Finally, if I hear one more time that Jeter doesn’t like the limelight, I’m going to poke my eyes out.  Jeter is like the driver with the Baby on Board sign on its vehicle weaving in and out of traffic.  You can’t have it both ways. You can’t claim to shy away from the limelight while doing the farewell victory tour and filming farewell commercials.

While I’m not the biggest fan of the farewell tour, there’s nothing wrong with seeking the limelight now and then.  Just be honest about it like Reggie was.

 

 

Speaking of commercials, the Jeter Gatorade commercial is as heartwarming as it gets.  I had a lump in my throat by the end of the commercial.  It was that moving.  The reason being is that it was real.  No cowboy boots from Roger Clemmons in Houston, no month long patches to honor a living player, no tipping of the cap from celebrities in the Nike Commercials.  Just Jeter and the fans.

In conclusion, this blog is by no means to disparage Derek Jeter but instead to put his career in proper perspective.  I’ve been a Yankee fan since the early 1970’s and realize that the “Derek Jetuhhhhs” come around once every 25 years.  For crying out loud I’ve played the Jeter Gatorade commercial over and over.  He will definitely be missed.

 

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