Now batting for the Yankees… Number 2, Derek Jeter… Number 2.
If you think this whole blog is going to be me complaining about Jeter not getting in to the HOF unanimously.. It’s not. If you wanted it to be.. I’m sorry.
Should Jeter be the second player in baseball history voted in Unanimously? Of course, but he missed by one vote. Probably because one old crotchety writer either wanted to become famous or wanted to try and save someone like Bobby Abreu on his ballet.
Either way, the clown did what he did and it’s over. The fact of the matter is one of the greatest players in baseball history is now heading to Cooperstown and I couldn’t be more excited.
If you don’t know, I grew up in New Jersey during the 90’s/00’s and have been a diehard Yankee fan for my entire life. My mother would watch every game, we would head to the Bronx all the time and I even was a Yankees season ticket holder for a few years once I got older.
What I’m trying to say is… I have probably seen almost every single one of Jeter’s games as a Yankee. And, the best part about Derek’s game was… He never changed.
Whether it was Opening Day, a random Tuesday day game in July or the bottom of the 9th in the World Series, he was the same. The moment was never to big for him.
Hell, the first pitch he saw as the Yankees everyday starting shortstop/leadoff hitter in 96 he put into the seats. His 3000th hit was a homerun at Yankee Stadium. His last ever at bat of his career was a walkoff single… At Yankee Stadium.
He lived for the big moment, because he was built for the big moment.
Haters will say if he didn’t play for the Yankees he wouldn’t be a Hall of Famer. I will argue against that all day long. Doing what he did in NY where the lights shine the brightest was a billion times harder than if he would have done it in Cincinnati.
Take it from me, Yankees fans will always let you know exactly how we feel, and a lot of players can’t handle that heat. But Jeter handled it with grace.. Every day.
He left the game with the sixth most hits of all time. Hundreds of those hits coming in some of the most clutch moments in baseball history. But he not only did it with the bat, I think he is one of the most UNDERRATED shortstops to every play the game. (Yeah I said it.)
His flip play against the A’s in the playoffs is one of the most iconic plays there will ever be. His diving catch into the stands going face first into concrete is one of the gutsiest plays in baseball history.
The guy just delivered, time after time after time. Was he the most talented baseball player ever? Absolutely not. But I’ll argue he was the most prepared and wanted it more than anyone ever, and that’s what gained him respect more than anything.
It was an honor being able to root for number 2. He never did anything on or off the field to ever tarnish that reputation or respect. He was the perfect role model for me as an athlete growing up and he brought us way more than 5 championships.
Whether it was his walk off Mr. November homerun or his leadoff Subway Series World Series homerun at Shea… He brought us memories. Memories that my fellow Yankees fans… Hell just baseball fans in general, can hold on to forever.
He was the type of teammate and type of Captain that I guarantee right now would say he was happy he didn’t go into the Hall of Fame Unanimously, so that honor can be held only by his former teammate Mariano Rivera. Because that’s who he is.
He didn’t want to be the center of attention. He didn’t need the spotlight. And that’s why he played the game the way he did.. And when the lights shined the brightest he treated it like every other moment… And just delivered.
Thank you Derek, and congratulations.