Archive for July, 2011

Scandal? What Scandal?

July 25, 2011

Phone-hacking, you say?  By News Corp. employees?  Can’t be so; let’s ask the geniuses at Fox & Friends:

TomTomorrow

Captain Clutch

July 9, 2011

Wow.  An amazing, extraordinary accomplishment by the Yankee Captain and Shortshop Derek Jeter and yet another chill-inducing, magical moment at Yankee Stadium this afternoon.  How amazing, how extraordinary?  Let me put the accomplishment itself into perspective, then Jeter’s place in baseball and Yankee history.

First, how impressive is 3,000 hits?  Somewhere in the neighborhood of 17,000 people have played major league baseball and Jeter is just the 28th player to achieve the 3,000-hit milestone.  Not to mention, of course, that he’s the first Yankee to so.  Not The Babe.  Not Gehrig.  Not Joe D.  Not The Mick.  No Yankee, ever before. 

And he ain’t done yet.  By the end of this season, he’ll certainly pass, among others, Roberto Clemente, Al Kaline, Wade Boggs, Lou Brock, Rod Carew and Rickey Henderson to become 18th on the list, just behind Dave Winfield.  And he has a shot to crack the top ten before he retires.  He’ll need about 280 more hits this year and the next two to pass Willie Mays for that distinction.  Other facts:

  • He’s the 4th-youngest of the group, behind only Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron and Robin Yount, turning 37 two weeks ago.
  • He’s just the second player to hit a home run for his 3,000th hit, after former teammate Wade Boggs.
  • He’s the 15th player on the list to get 3,000 hits all with the same team.
  • After Honus Wagner (who got his 3,00th hit in 1914, two years after the sinking of the Titanic), he’s only the second SS to get there, as both Cal Ripken, Jr. (3B) and Robin Yount (CF) had moved to other positions by the time they got to 3,000.  Ripken did play most of his career at SS, but Yount played half his career in CF.

Next question.  Is Derek Jeter the greatest SS in baseball history?  You tell me.  Five-time World Champion, including a World Series MVP; 12-time All-Star, including an All-Star Game MVP, .313 lifetime batting average and five Gold Gloves.

Most people consider Wagner the greatest SS (he had 3,415 hits), but he played a century ago and no one alive saw him play.  Ozzie Smith is clearly the best-ever defender at the position, but not in his wildest dreams could he hit with Jeter.  Ripken?  More power for sure, but a .276 lifetime BA and two Gold Gloves, before moving to 3B.  Yount?  He won one Gold Glove before moving to CF, leads Jeter by only 14 HRs and had a .285 lifetime BA.  Jeter has a higher slugging percentage than both of them.  Ernie Banks?  More than 500 HRs, but only 2,583 hits and he moved to first base.  Of course A-Rod is both a better hitter and fielder, but the fact is he’s been playing 3B for more than five years now and will wind up his career having played more 3B than SS.

And, let’s not forget that he has a .303 lifetime BA in the postseason with 20 HRs and 57 RBI.

Like I said, you tell me.

 Final question.  Where does he rank in Yankee history?  I think this one is relatively simple.  He’s clearly behind only the four true icons: Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio and Mantle. The fifth spot is either Jeter, Yogi Berra or Rivera.  End of story.

And, as I’ve been writing this, Jeter has three more hits, including the game-winner, making him the first in the 3,000-hit club to go 5-5 in the game he gets to that mark.  So Jeter does something remarkable in a big moment.  Where have I seen that before?

Show-off.