Posted by MikeT23 on 8/17/2014 6:15:00 AM (view original):
If you don't know much about baseball, sure.
You'd have to not know much about baseball to think that hit totals make somebody one of the best hitters of his generation. Maybe it's unfair because so much of Jeter's career fell during the most offensive period in the history of baseball, but he's not one of the best hitters of his generation. Not even close. His offensive value is light years behind numerous contemporaries, from pure power guys like Thome and Frank Thomas to comparable speed/power guys like Larry Walker, Griffey, or A-Rod.
And to clarify, if I had to choose between Jeter and Walker on a career basis, it's a tough call. But if you're looking for a time when you could call Jeter one of the best hitters in baseball, the only year you could really try to point to is 1999. And Walker was head-and-shoulders better than Jeter in 1999. For that matter, so were Chipper Jones, Jeff Bagwell, and Manny Ramirez. You could make a pretty strong argument that Jeter wasn't even the best offensive SS in his best season, as Nomar beat him out by 8 points of average, 33 points of OPS, and put together more HR and more doubles in spite of playing in 23 fewer games.
I'm not saying that Jeter's not a HOF. I'm just saying keep it in perspective. He's not one of the best hitters of his generation. He was never one of the best players in baseball. He did put together remarkable longevity and a great injury track record, and he always played hard and certainly is one of the guys you would say "played the game the right way." I don't give him a lot of credit for playing SS given how poorly he did so, but it does add a little bit of extra meaning to his longevity and health. On balance, his career has been great. But after all the talk about Beltre being "a compiler" and therefore unworthy of the Hall of Fame (not from you, necessarily, but in general) it seems worth pointing out that Jeter falls into the same category. Easily. This will be Beltre's 6th season with 130 or better OPS+; Jeter has 2. To say he was ever one of the best hitters in baseball is just silly.