Still the One

The sad news about Tom Brady, aptly lamented by SF below, reminds us just how difficult the feat of endurance is in professional sports. Just today, the Mets announced closer Billy Wagner is done for the season. That knowledge makes all the more impressive the accomplishments of Derek Jeter, who continues to field baseball’s toughtest position (besides catcher) nearly every day, without fail, and at an exceptional level of performance. Nevermind the intangibles. Or Intangibles. Yesterday our captain recorded his 1,000th career rbi and passed Babe Ruth on the all-time Yankee hit leaderboard. After a lousy, injury plagued first few months, he has quietly put together a more than respectable season, now clocking in at .297/.360/.407. Those stats make him, arguably, the best player at his position in the American League, and inarguably among the elite. It’s become fashionable even among Yankee fans to dismiss Jeter: he’s aging, he’s got no range; he’s got no power; his baserunning genius seems to have mysterious vanished. Perhaps he isn’t what he once was. (Who is?) But what he is is still pretty special. We’re thankful to have it, especially in such a lousy year.

17 comments… add one
  • I think Wagner is out for NEXT year, too.

    SF September 8, 2008, 4:29 pm
  • Darn! you’re right Johnny Peralta is having a good year, but by most batting metrics Jeter is at the top. I do not think he’s an elite fielder though. Of all the Yankees I don’t like to see come up to bat against the sox, it is him (followed by Matsui).

    dw (sf) September 8, 2008, 4:52 pm
  • He’ll always be the Captain.

    krueg September 8, 2008, 5:59 pm
  • What he has done for the Yankee’s will put him in the HOF, he is a continuum of great players to come through the Bronx like Ruth, Gehrig, and Mantle before him.
    Here is a serious question, how long after he retires does he get a “monument” in center field? I have no idea of the history of those, is it similar to the HOF, 5 years? 1-year, the same time they retire number 2? Yank fans, heck baseball fans, know this will happen, just curious of how long after he retires does he get the special place in CF with the rest of the greats.

    BillsBurgSF September 8, 2008, 10:05 pm
  • the next day…

    krueg September 8, 2008, 10:57 pm
  • Yeah, I’m sure most YFs would say that..but do the Yankee’s organization have some sort of protocol for that.
    OK looked it up on Wikipedia, seems that the Monuments are only after the player dies, last monument was for Mantel (Yogi will probably be the next one added). So Jeter get the plaque and the number 2 retired on opening day, what, 2015 (gives him a nice 20 yr career). Then sometime around 2085-2090 they need to replace the plaque with a monument…
    The Yankee’s monument park is such a unique thing in baseball. From looking at the list of plaques they have on players I can only see Jeter and Yogi eventually (sadly?) getting monuments.
    I see no Sox since Yaz that will have their number retired (at one time I though that Rice should, maybe they will if he gets into the HOF) any time soon. Is the era of the long-time, same-team, solid player, retire their number at the end of their career over???

    BillsBurgSF September 8, 2008, 11:13 pm
  • @ BillsBurgSF:
    I think Yogi’s a lock for a monument, but I’d be surprised to see Jeter get one. Nothing against him — I’m a fan — but a stand-alone monument is pretty rarefied air.
    Only four players have one. Jeter has a way to go before he’s shoulder-to-shoulder with Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio and Mantle. It would implicitly mean “passing” plaque-holders like Rizzuto, Munson, Mattingly, Reggie and Guidry.
    I don’t think there’s any question DJ will eventually get plaqued, and he may be the last to wear no. 2. I expect a rash of plaques in the coming years — Rivera, O’Neill and Posada are at least worthy of consideration — and they’ll probably “double up” Rivera with Jackie Robinson the way Dickey and Berra share no. 8.

    Jim September 9, 2008, 9:19 am
  • >”I see no Sox since Yaz that will have their number retired (at one time I though that Rice should, maybe they will if he gets into the HOF) any time soon”
    The sox have a specific requirement for number retirement. Must finish career with sox, and must be in the HOF (they have retired Fisk’s number, though, but signed him to a one day contract or something similar to get around their own silly rule). They do make numbers “unavailable” however – there hasn’t been a #14 worn since Rice, and others as well.

    dw (sf) September 9, 2008, 10:00 am
  • Thanks for that dw. I didn’t know that that was the protocol for the Red Sox. Interesting. It seems to preclude them from honoring some of the greats in their history. How old is that rule? Before the advent of the free agency era?

    DR September 9, 2008, 12:45 pm
  • DR – not sure on how old it is, but must be pretty old rule judging from the number of retired numbers. Yes, it does preclude honoring some greats, but there are ways around it (as they proved with Fisk). Wonder what they’ll do with #24

    dw (sf) September 9, 2008, 1:41 pm
  • You from Buffalo BB???

    krueg September 9, 2008, 1:54 pm
  • I have issues with the Sox’ rule — too restrictive for the modern era. Rice will get his retired after he’s inducted next year, but that’s about it. It’s hard to argue Boggs and Clemens shouldn’t have theirs retired. Never mind Manny and Pedro. Or how about Dwight Evans, who should be in the Hall of Fame and also spent more time with the Red Sox than any player since?
    If they can work around their rule for Fisk, surely they can do so for other Red Sox greats.

    Paul SF September 9, 2008, 2:45 pm
  • Paul – I agree, but how to retire #24 – both Evans and Manny! :)

    dw (sf) September 9, 2008, 3:08 pm
  • Wouldn’t the Rocket get booed out of Fenway if they retired his number though???

    krueg September 9, 2008, 3:26 pm
  • I would think the Rocket would get booed, but I don’t think anyone has worn #21 since he bolted for Toronto and found the fountain of youth (allegedly) either.
    the point is mute however, since he didn’t retire as a sox (did he really ever retire?)

    dw (sf) September 9, 2008, 4:00 pm
  • I think the Sox would avoid a Clemens ceremony at all costs. IIRC, the plan had been to do a big number-retirement ceremony had he returned last season. Thankfully, he chose to flash his mediocrity in the Bronx before being tarred with the steroids brush.
    I’m a little pissed at Boggs, too, for his wearing a Yankee cap at the All-Star Game when everyone else wore the hat with which they were inducted (even Dave Winfield, I think, wore the induction hat and waved a Yankee hat, which was a nice touch). It’s not to the level of Clemens wearing his Yankee cap at Fenway’s ASG in 1999, but it resonated similarly with me.

    Paul SF September 9, 2008, 4:51 pm
  • Yeah but it was in the Bronx so he obviously would wear the Yankees hat…

    krueg September 9, 2008, 5:20 pm

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