The question was: is Jeter (or any of the players here we are discussing) over-rated?
Everyone pretty much agrees, Jeter is a fine hitter and not a great fielder.
He has been criticized, even severely for his defense, but has also won 5 Gold Glove awards. He is considered about as good a field general as they get short of catchers. He might be the player in baseball most respected by other players for his professionalism. If he does not have good range as a shortstop, and I grant you he has not for some years now, he is giving up singles. That is what gets through the infield. Not ideal, but since some of you have criticized Jeter for hitting singles (20 HRs in the postseason in 700 PA), then in taking points off, let's recall that he is not giving up home runs as a bad pitcher would, not even bases-clearing doubles down the first or second base line as a poor 3B or 1B would. We talk about how important defense is at shortstop but in fact it is one of places where you can do the least damage on the field. That is part of why the Yankees won those world series with Jeter at SS and Chuck Knoblauch at 2B - good hitting players, who might let someone get to first base. And no, OBP is really NOT the most important offensive stat in baseball or the Oakland Athletics would be the ones with the dynasty. It is more important than we used to give it credit for. But Willie Mays really was one of the greatest players ever, duh. His OBP is not as good as Don Buford's or Yank Robinson's ? Oh my.
He has hit .351 in the World Series - in 7 World Series. In 2002 he led the major leagues in stolen base percentage.
The only other player to get 3,000 hits while playing Shortstop full time was Honus Wagner. Only Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron and Robin Yount got 3,000 hits at a younger age than Jeter.
In 2009, his 14th full season in baseball, he hit .339 and made 8 errors. He hit .364 in the ALDS in 2012 his 17th full season in the majors. He turned 39 yesterday, June 26.
Show me another player not tainted with the use of steroids who has been better playing continually since 1996. One. I don't think there is one. Is Tulo better now than Jeter is? Yes. Let's see how good he is in 15 years.
Might he have been more useful to the Yankees is he had moved to the outfield AND Alex Rodriguez had a) not taken steroids and b) played SS instead? Probably.
But players who kept playing a position after that was not the best place for them to play include Mike Piazza as we have noted, and we might add that Ted Williams was slightly better than a wooden post in the outfield.
Is this seeing the world through pin-striped glasses? Perhaps but two things to say about that:
1) it IS a great way to go through life and follow baseball, though there are moments when I feel bad for the rest of you "poor blighters" (as Snoopy in his World War I flying ace persona calls them) who root for other teams. Not much though. Get an interesting city and maybe 8 million people will move there too and you will have the media and revenue to field consistently competitive teams. Otherwise live with NY hegemony in all things. The rest of the world does. (China, I am looking at you, and no I am not impressed by Shanghai, thanks).
2) I root for socialists in the United States (and no the Wall Street bank-funded and advised president is not one, he is on your side), for workers movements, peace movements (I think there were ten of us protesting the war daily in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 2003-4 saying the Iraq War was a bad idea. You're welcome, and thanks for admitting we were right after all), for social justice struggles, etc. etc. So as a 4th generation Yankees fan - (my grandpa watched Babe Ruth, my mom was a fan of the Joe Dimaggio era Yankees, and thinks Jorge Posada is her fourth son, my brother rooted for Mickey Mantle), I am happy to have one little zone of my life where my side usually wins. It helps me get through the increasingly bleak, austerity driven capitalist era with my principles intact, and most of the time my good cheer and sense of humor.
So Eugene Debs didn't get elected President in 1912. So instead of staying out of World War I (as he would have done, and got arrested and jailed for calling on us to do) we entered the war, helped defeat Germany which got Hitler elected years later resulting in an even bloodier conflict, the Holocaust and all the rest. We are used to being right about stuff, not having others see things our way, having the usual disaster result, not getting credit for being right in the first place, and having people still vote for the two capitalist parties while complaining that nothing ever gets better. We can deal with it, and you're still welcome for us having warned you about the WW I, Vietnam, Iraq, Reagan de-industrializing America and breaking unions leading to the mess we have now, and all the rest.
I don't expect any different. And I am used to Yankee haters, who are secretly New York haters who are embarrassed to admit it. Does Jeter get more press than he should and other great players less cause they play in lesser venues? Yes, absolutely. In that sense you could say that all NY players are always over-rated (as some have, see some of the venom directed at Joe D , Mickey,and the Scooter above). But then again, there is a reason the press doesn't cover other cities and what happens there. They are boring. I have been to them and with the possible exception of San Francisco and Austin, Texas (the largest US city with no major league sports team) the press is quite right not to go. There is no there there. Sorry.
I don't think Jeter is over-rated. I think markets, the capitalist system and the two-party system are. I could be wrong. But one of them has hit .351 over 7 World Series.
6/27/2013 7:23 AM (edited)