2. I think I said something to my bride the other night that I never thought I'd say about a New York Yankee. As many of you may have divined from this column over the years, that's not my favorite franchise on earth. Anyway, I said to her: I'm not sure about this, but I think when Derek Jeter retires, I will say he's the best baseball player I ever saw.
Living in Jersey, I see the man come to bat maybe 300 times a season, and I watch him in the field maybe 40 percent of his innings. But Jeter personifies effort every time he puts on the uniform; there is never anything but 100 percent effort. Every at-bat is quality. Every ball hit to him, and some only close to him, are gobbled up with certainty. And the way he carries himself ... He is baseball's Tiger Woods. He is this Yankee generation's DiMaggio. And I think he'll go down as better than Mantle, because though Mantle was truly great, he also squandered much of his ability through wild living.
Now I don't know about you, but that seems like one of the largest overexaggerations of Derek Jeter's career that I've seen, and I've seen my fair share.
Jeter has a career .847 OPS with just 169 homeruns, and 763 rbi before 2006. Mantle has a career OPS of .978 with 536 homeruns, 1509 rbi. Jeter's highest season in OPS+ was 161...Mantle's career OPS+ was 172.
And lets face it: Derek Jeter is not a good fielding shortstop. His defense is average at best and his two gold gloves were un-deserved.
And am I the only one who has noticed that his postseason batting average and on-base percentage are lower than his regular season numbers? Jeter has hit 16 postseason homeruns in 462 at bats...Mantle hit 18 postseason homeruns in 230 at bats. And Jeter's the clutch one?
Jeter is no Mantle; he's not even close. In fact, the most comparable player to Jeter on baseball-reference.com is Ray Durham.
I generally wipe away the Jeter mumble-jumble as Yankee fans overhyping their players, as most of us do for our home teams, but this was from a non-Yankee fan (actually someone who regularly bashes them); this worries me. How can sportswriters get away with this nonsense?