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St. Pasta Diving: Let the Embarrassment Commence

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The year-long mourning of Derek Jeter is going to be pretty much the most annoying thing ever.  One thing to say at the outset is that by the standards writers have used to convict Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza, I have no idea what the basis for the claim that Jeter is the “clean” star of the era are.  I mean, he played in the 90s and aughts, and showed remarkable durability and skills retention for a middle infielder, so he should be presumed guilty, right?  It’s tautology all the way down.

Anyway, I’m sure there will be all too many chances to come back to the PED issue — let’s deal with some arguments about NERDS who are insufficiently respectful of the perfect man.  We’ll have Allen Barra throw out the first strawman:

If one had to synthesize most of the recent Jeter coverage under one headline, it would be: Is Derek Jeter a True Hall of Famer or Is He Overrated?

The answer, of course, is “both.” Barra doesn’t cite anyone claiming that Jeter isn’t a Hall of Famer, presumably because (cranky exceptions because This is America aside) they don’t exist. Again, it’s not “an issue of his being overrated exactly; it is more an issue of his being fawned over.” Sportswriters certainly overrated him as a defensive player, but he’s still an obvious Hall of Famer and virtually nobody disputes this. The problem is that there are many great players who aren’t treated to this kind of routine hagiography, and many of the same sportswriters who engage in this ceaseless fawning over Jeter are keeping multiple players who were as great or greater than Jeter out of the Hall of Fame for no decent or coherent reason.

Since I’ve been baited, however, I can’t resist concluding with this:

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  • kltpzyxm

    One thing to say at the outset is that by the standards writers have used to convict Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza, I have no idea what the basis for the claim that Jeter is the “clean” star of the era are.

    He was clean shaven. This means he didn’t use steroids because sportswriters are actually that susceptible to semiotics.

    • Scott Lemieux

      I’m sorry, I can’t accept this until I get a full set of Murray Chass’s locker room reports.

  • joe from Lowell

    The Boston Sports Hub morning hosts had a host from WFAN in NY on this morning. They asked him to rank Jeter among Yankee all-time greats.

    The guy said Jeter was fifth, just ahead of Yogi Berra.

    • Denverite

      Is that obviously wrong? I mean, I’d probably go with Berra, but you could make a decent argument that Jeter is just ahead of him, right?

      • joe from Lowell

        I don’t think Jeter makes the top ten under any reasonable calculation.

        I’m sort of surprised by your reply. I didn’t write anything snarky in my comment because I assumed the idea of Derek Jeter being the fifth greatest Yankee of all time was self-evidently ridiculous.

        • Brien Jackson

          I’m quite literally somewhere between slack jawed amazement and hysterical laughter at this. Like seriously, my body can’t even process this enough to decide on a knee jerk physical response.

          • mark f

            Yeah, bWAR not only puts Jeter significantly ahead of Berra for their careers (19 years for each) but he also surpassed Berra’s best year a few times.

            • Brien Jackson

              I’ve seen people make semi-decent arguments that Berra > Jeter. I don’t agree with it, but it happens and I understand it.

              That Jeter isn’t in the TOP TEN list of the best Yankees ever? I’ll have what he’s having!

              • djw

                Right. It’s hard for me to see an argument for him higher than #5, or lower than #7.

            • Sherm

              Ignore WAR with catchers imo. What great catcher has a big WAR number?

              • mark f

                I agree up to a point and don’t mean to take anything from Berra.

                Top catcher totals on off-the-top-of-my-head searching of individuals:

                Johnny Bench 75.2
                Gary Carter 69.8
                Carlton Fisk 68.3
                Ivan Rodriguez 68.3
                Mike Piazza 59.2
                Yogi Berra 56.4

                Also, someone mentioned Berra’s WWII service. Landing at D-Day must’ve been a hell of a thing, but it didn’t have the professional effect for Berra that the war had on others. His rookie year was 1946, when he was 21, and he only played in a few games.

          • joe from Lowell

            Apparently, you’re so taken aback you can’t even express yourself with sufficient clarity for the reader to know if you’re objecting to the lionization of Jeter, or my dismissal of it.

            • Arouet

              Your dismissal of it. That should have been self-evidently obvious, unless your characterization of Jeter as not one of the top 10 Yankees isn’t the hilarious joke it appears to be.

              • joe from Lowell

                Like, oh. Mah. GAWD, BECKEH!

        • Anon21

          Well, let’s see… Ruth, Mantle, DiMaggio, Gehrig, Berra… who else would you put ahead of him? A-Rod was the better player, obviously, but in terms of “production in a Yankees uniform,” which seems like the right standard (unless you want to put Ichiro in this conversation), Jeter has him beat.

          • Scott Lemieux

            Yeah, 5th is reasonable. I would give Berra some playing time breaks on WAR compared to an outfielder, but not a shortstop; Jeter was probably better. I don’t know who else would even be a candidate, especially since the clear premise of the question is career value. (You can argue, for example, that Joe Gordon was a better player at his absolute best, but he had only 7 years as a Yankee.)

            • timb

              Whotey Ford doesn’t make that list? Or, are we limited to just position players

          • joe from Lowell

            For one thing, I wouldn’t leave out pitchers.

            but in terms of “production in a Yankees uniform,” which seems like the right standard

            Are you only talking about offensive production?

            • Anon21

              For one thing, I wouldn’t leave out pitchers.

              By all means! Which pitcher(s) do you think eclipsed Derek Jeter in value to the Yankees?

              • joe from Lowell

                Off the top of my head, Rivera, Ford, and Ruffing.

                • Anon21

                  Here’s the nub of it, then. Rivera isn’t even in the conversation; the man has 1283 career innings pitched. Historically great at what he did, but “what he did” isn’t very valuable in the big picture. Whitey Ford had a great career that was about 25% less valuable than Jeter’s. Ruffing is not quite as silly a pick, but he’s got 65.8 fWAR/55.4 bWAR to Jeter’s 73.7/71.6.

                  You are but one man, but the extent of your underrating of Derek Jeter probably counterbalances the overrating of at least three NYPost.com commenters.

                • joe from Lowell

                  This goes to the difference (and whether there is one) between greatest, best, and most valuable.

                  I agree, Jeter was more valuable than Rivera.

                • Anon21

                  The thing to remember with closers, too, is that if they could have been starters, they would have been. In Rivera’s case, we know this for certain. So he doesn’t get extra credit from me for being the best at not hacking it in a starting rotation.

                • joe from Lowell

                  I don’t think that’s true, at least not when it comes to closers and top set-up guys.

                  Pitchers are divided by type, not just quality. A guy with two great pitches will pitch better single innings than a guy with five decent ones, but the latter will succeed more as a starter. Does that mean he’d succeed more as a closer?

                  And that’s before we get to the mental aspect, of each individual pitch and batter being so important.

            • Denverite

              Again, only Clemens was obviously better than Jeter, and he played most of his career elsewhere.

            • steve

              But starting pitcher is the odd blank spot in Yankee icon history. There’s no primarily Yankee pitcher (so ignoring Clemens and Randy Johnson, e.g.) anywhere near the Mantle-Ruth level of all time greatness. The franchise leaders in WAR are Whitey Ford, Andy Pettitte, and Ron Guidry. Fine pitchers all but pretty far from Walter Johnson.

              5th is fine for Jeter.

              • Denverite

                There’s no primarily Yankee pitcher (so ignoring Clemens and Randy Johnson, e.g.) anywhere near the Mantle-Ruth level of all time greatness.

                ftfy

                • Denverite

                  Oops, meant to leave in “pitcher”.

                • Anon21

                  Clemens was a better player than Mantle, and he’s… kind of in the general vicinity of Ruth, if you squint. (This applies to your amended strikethrough implying that there is “no pitcher” who approaches them; I’m not saying Clemens is a Yankee.)

                • Denverite

                  Holy shit. I didn’t realize that Clemens had 139 WAR. I stand corrected.

                • Anon21

                  Yeah, Clemens is just the greatest pitcher in baseball history. We will never see his like again.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  Holy shit. I didn’t realize that Clemens had 139 WAR. I stand corrected.

                  It’s so awesome that we can keep him out of the Hall of Fame so we can keep it safe for true greats like Jim Rice.

                • snarkout

                  You really can just slice off Clemens’ Red Sox career from his post-Sox career and see two legitimate HoF pitchers. It’s absurd. But he was a jerk, not like that Kirby Puckett.

              • Scott Lemieux

                Ford is kind of underrated, and because of the way Stengel used him WAR probably understates his value, but…there’s no way in hell he was more valuable over the course of his career than Jeter.

                And while Jeter wasn’t much of a defensive shortstop even in his prime, even a poor defensive SS has quite a lot of defensive value.

                • howard

                  now i like to think i keep up, but seriously, you mean to say, scott, that amongst the au courant people don’t recognize what a great pitcher whitey ford was? how is that possible?

                  you mean, serious baseball analysts? who are you talking about that doesn’t get whitey ford for crissake?

                • joe from Lowell

                  there’s no way in hell he was more valuable over the course of his career than Jeter…even a poor defensive SS has quite a lot of defensive value.

                  I agree, absolutely. Jeter was more valuable.

                  But are value and greatness the same thing? Remember when you posted that list of best offensive seasons, and it turned out that it included the WAR positional modifiers, and you agreed that it was a list of the most valuable offensive seasons, not the best.

                  What’s the relationship between greatest, best, and most valuable (and longest, which also seems to come into play)?

          • Anon21

            On the other hand, the “ranked by entire career if ever on team” method does have something to recommend it: hilarity! Tom Glavine, second-greatest Met ever. Cliff Lee: surely a top 5 Mariner.

            • Scott Lemieux

              I can’t believe Atlanta hasn’t retired Babe Ruth’s number!

            • Anon21

              Amendment: I forgot that the Mariners had like half of the best players of the last 20 years and then watched them depart in free agency. Cliff’s a top-10 Mariner by this silly methodology, but Top 5 (in no special order: A-Rod, Griffey, Unit, Martinez, Ichiro) may never be cracked.

              • MikeJ

                David Ortiz was signed to the M’s and played in the minors, but didn’t get to the show until they traded him to the Twins. Which really stretches things.

            • steve

              Mike Piazza is the all time Marlin. He went 5 for 19.

              Glavine is probably only the fourth greatest Met, behind Willie Mays, Tom Seaver, and Rickey Henderson. Henderson is on a hell of a lot of teams’ lists.

              • Sherm

                I beg to differ. Yogi Berra, Warren Spahn, Eddie Murray and Nolan Ryan were all better than Glavine.

                • Anon21

                  You guys are killing me on Mets-for-a-minute trivia. All I really know about the Mutts is that I hate ’em.

                • Sherm

                  Did I fail to mention Gil Hodges, Duke Snider and Richie Ashburn?

                • Bill Murray

                  Nolan Ryan

                  speaking of overrated

        • Stan Gable

          Fangraphs says he’s #5 in batting WAR among Yankees all time. The gap between him and Berra is almost identical to the gap between him and DiMaggio.

          • Denverite

            The argument for Jeter is that SS is a little more valuable than CF. The response is that Jeter was a mediocre SS the first half of his career and a bad one the second. Dimaggio was a good CFer the first half and a mediocre one the second.

        • Denverite

          Ruth, Gehrig and Mantle are clearly better. Jackson too, though I’d question whether he should count as a Yankee.

          DiMaggio and Berra are probably better, but you could argue for Jeter.

          After that? Rivera, but I just can’t get over how much more valuable an everyday SS is to a relief pitcher. Clemens, obvs, but does he count as a Yankee? Ditto Rodriguez. I’d go with Jeter over Posada.

          I must be missing people.

          • mark f

            DiMaggio was vastly superior to Jeter.

            • Denverite

              Yeah, I was just looking at career WAR, which is misleading because Dimaggio played a lot fewer seasons (both because he retired early, and because of WWII).

              • joe from Lowell

                WAR, which is misleading because Dimaggio played a lot fewer seasons

                True. These “greatest ever” lists always break down into arguments about definitions. Does greatest equal best? Do they both equal most valuable?

                Should the position modifier that makes someone more (or less) valuable also count in making them more (or less) great? Or better (or worse?)

                And for WAR in particular, should a few just-above-replacement years at the end of a career, which do add to total career WAR (and hits and HRs and other totals), count in favor of a player’s greatness? Or should the drag on his career batting average/obp/ops numbers count against him? Jim Rice would have been a career .300/30/100 player if he’d retired two years earlier. Would he have had a greater career if he’d done so, or less of one?

                These all seem to be matters of opinion.

                • mark f

                  And for WAR in particular, should a few just-above-replacement years at the end of a career, which do add to total career WAR (and hits and HRs and other totals), count in favor of a player’s greatness?

                  That’s a tough one. I think it depends.

                  Ken Griffey, Jr. might be the most extreme case here. He had 78.1 WAR through 2001. He retired in 2010 with 83.7. It took him ten years to add 5.6, a number he’d surpassed in 7 single seasons.

                • Richard Hershberger

                  FWIW, this is why I mostly sit out the Hall of Fame and All-Star arguments. They really are arguments about definitions, but couches as arguments about individual players. I would be interested in the argument about definitions, but put in those terms to most people and their eyes glaze over and they wander away.

                  I will go so far as to say that I would give my All-Star vote to seeing the cryogenically preserved head of Ted Williams over whatever left fielder had a good OPS that Spring.

            • An argument could be made that Mo was more valuable to the Yankees during that stretch of time, than Jeter.

              I won’t make it, because I think everyday players are more valuable than starting pitchers.
              But “closers” are as close to everyday players, as pitchers can get.

              I’ll leave this for others to argue.
              Or not.

              • Sherm

                And closers are less valuable than starting pitchers.

                • Anon21

                  Yeah, Rivera was great, but I’m not sure (as a non-Yankee fan) that he even cracks the top 20 in career value. Closers just don’t matter as much as many people want them to.

              • Nick

                There’s no way in the world a closer is as valuable as a starting SS, unless the talent gap is enormous. Rivera averaged, oh, about 70IP a season. Even weighting his appearances situationally, there’s no way he was remotely as productive as Jeter. And I don’t particularly like Jeter.

              • joe from Lowell

                An argument could be made that Mo was more valuable to the Yankees during that stretch of time, than Jeter.

                I don’t think you can really argue that a relief pitcher is more or even equally as valuable as a shortstop if they are even roughly equivalent in talent.

                You pretty much have to stipulate that the shortstop is more valuable.

                But should the additional value of a position translate when talking about greatness?

                • Brien Jackson

                  Um…yes, it should. Have you never been involved with Little League in any capacity?

                • joe from Lowell

                  Um….I made a point, and it went completely over your head.

                  Here, Mr. Superior Dance, see if you can understand it with a little longer explanation.

                • joe from Lowell

                  By all means, if you want to say I’m wrong, go right ahead.

                  But make some effort to understand the question you’re absolutely certain you know the answer to.

            • timb

              This. If only for 56 games in 1941

              • Bartleby

                Lou Boudreau fielded that ball cleanly, and like that, the streak was over.

          • Brien Jackson

            Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle and DiMaggio are your top four. Jackson didn’t play there long enough to really get into the mix, and Jeter was the better player of the two anyway (in addition to Jeter’s superior value as a shortstop, he was a MUUUUUUCH better defender relative to his peers than Jackson could have dreamed of). Berra gets an argument from nostalgic old timer, but it’s not really convincing. Rivera might be my favorite player of all-time and, arguably, the single most beloved Yankee ever, but come on, there’s no comparison between a reliever and an everyday shortstop. And there aren’t any pitchers who really work their way into the conversation. Maybe if Clemens’ Houston years had been with the Yankees instead, but otherwise nope.

            • Denverite

              I think the argument for Berra is that he’s arguably the second best catcher ever (I’d put Fisk, Piazza and maybe even Rodriguez ahead of him), whereas Jeter is clearly behind Wagner, Ripken, Yount and Rodriguez.

              • Sherm

                Berra was a better hitter than Jeter, and from all accounts, a much better defender at an even more demanding position. I say flip a coin. But a very good argument can be made in favor of Berra.

              • Bill Murray

                Jeter is probably also behind Arky Vaughn, Ernie Banks and Ozzie Smith maybe even or a little worse than Luke Appling, Allen Trammell and Barry Larkin — He struggles to get into the top-10.

                Berra is around 5th or 6th all-time, probably, behind Bench, Carter, Rodriguez, Piazza and Fisk

                • timb

                  Uh, Piazza can’t be THAT good or he’d be in the HOF….I mean, unless you’re that HOF voters are the kind of morons who would keep the best SP of the last 75 years, the home run career leader, and the two Top Ten single season home run leaders out of the Hall for some barely articulated reason?

                  PS Does anyone ever make an argument for Sosa as HOF worthy?

            • Sherm

              Take a look at Berra’s numbers. There is more than nostalgia supporting his case for fifth. Berra’s greatness has been lost amid all the joking about his Yogi-isms.

            • Stan Gable

              Berra gets an argument from nostalgic old timer

              I gather that catcher defense is still a giant black box, so the argument for Berra would be that modern defensive metrics vastly underrate good defensive catchers – that you should assign some of the pitching value back to the catcher or something.

              • Scott Lemieux

                And as I said above, I think you can make a good case that WAR underrates catchers as a class. But this is more compelling when your comparing catchers to corner IF/OF than other up-the-middle players.

                • Anon21

                  I think catchers should get a playing “bonus” as compared to all position players, because it’s not a position one can realistically play for a full 162 games. Shortstop you certainly can, even though it’s more taxing than being a first baseman.

              • brad

                This is about right. Framing, in particular, is something stats people are only just getting a handle on, and it seems like it can be up to a couple wins added or subtracted per season for most, with occasional higher or lower numbers at the extremes. If, say Yogi was the best framer ever, just as a hypothetical, and is missing, say, 20 WAR worth of value because of that, then he and Jeter are about even.

                • Sherm

                  But catching is such a physically demanding position, that its not reasonable to expect any catcher to amass a large career WAR total irrespective of any flaws in valuing defense.

                • Stan Gable

                  But catching is such a physically demanding position, that its not reasonable to expect any catcher to amass a large career WAR total irrespective of any flaws in valuing defense.

                  Yeah, but it’s also possible that catching just isn’t very valuable. In that case, low catcher WAR is sort of like low DH WAR and low RP WAR – maybe not fair to individual players, but accurate.

                • brad

                  That and the smaller number of games in a full season for a catcher are very true, but to think on it further I’m probably underestimating 20 career WAR to be the highest total from framing a catcher would receive were we able to quantify it across baseball history.
                  Johnny Bench’s career bWAR, for example, is a shockingly low 75. Say he was also among the league leaders in framing every year, providing a win or two additional value. That’s 20-30 WAR more, or roughly a quarter of the possible career value of the generally undisputed greatest catcher ever’s value hiding.
                  There might be some being undervalued by 40 WAR or more out there, and some, like my own beloved Jorge Posada, sadly, who are probably being overvalued by real amounts.

                • Sherm

                  Catching itself saps players’ ability to hit and shortens careers. Look at Bench — 2.2 WAR after his age 31 season.

                  And Berra was nevertheless a better hitter than Jeter.

                • Sherm

                  Brad — compare Bench’s WAR thru age 31 with Jeter’s. Catching destroys guys physically. Fisk hung on because of the DH. Berra didn’t have that opportunity.

                • brad

                  Absolutely. Crouching hurts your knees, and they get almost all the concussions that happen in baseball. But that doesn’t impact the hidden value of framing in baseball history and how to properly value catchers in relation to other positions.
                  And, at least intuitively, there might be reason to think older catchers gain in their framing ability. I have no idea if the numbers, such as they are, would back this up, but it seems from my non player perspective that framing would be a craft as much as about any natural physical ability, within the constraints of, Matt Stairs or Jason Giambi aside, even the oldest, very worst MLB player being a very talented athlete.

                • mpowell

                  The thing about catching WAR being low is this, the act of catching most days makes you a worse player over all. One thing that follows from this is that if you have a great hitter, its might be stupid to put them behind the plate. To this end, I wonder if Piazza would have been better off switching to 1B (or similar) early in his career.

                  So one way to think of this is that a great catcher simply can’t provide as much value over his career because he can’t provide as many high quality years/games. In terms of WAR, that’s a real thing. He really did provide fewer wins than that HoF SS (or whatever). The lack of WAR reflects a true deficiency in the value of elite catchers over the course of their careers.

                  Or you could think of catchers as simply playing a different sport and rule that WAR comparisons are invalid. The great hitters in MLB history have in some instances been fantastically good though their age 37/38 seaons. There are basically no comparable examples among basketball players. You just can’t avoid substantial-enormous decline in your mid 30s at the latest. But that doesn’t mean that Jordan doesn’t belong in the conversation of greatest sports athlete. But I think this is really stretching to take this approach with catchers.

                • Anon21

                  “Yeah, but it’s also possible that catching just isn’t very valuable.”

                  No, I don’t think this is possible, unless you’ve discovered a new version of baseball that doesn’t require a catcher. The Platonic ideal maximally greater catcher is equally valuable to the Platonic ideal maximally great first baseman by definition, even if that first baseman amasses 150 more PA per season and slugs 100 points higher. If your framework doesn’t produce that result, it’s a problem with the framework.

                • Stan Gable

                  The Platonic ideal maximally greater catcher is equally valuable to the Platonic ideal maximally great first baseman by definition, even if that first baseman amasses 150 more PA per season and slugs 100 points higher.

                  I don’t think it works that way. If the Cardinals had seen fit to start Ozzie Smith at 1B, then he would have a lower overall value – not because he’s any less of a player but it’s just way harder for a 1B to contribute value (either positively or negatively).

                  I believe the current evidence suggests that catchers are at the less valuable end of the spectrum relative to other positions – that’s why there’s a discussion now about pitch framing (and I’d imagine game-calling will start showing up eventually).

                • mpowell

                  Anon21, you’re definitely wrong about this. We’re talking about value above replacement over the course of a career. It is absolutely conceivable that the very best that is possible from a human being at catchers is less valuable compared to the average AAA catcher than the equivalent comparison at SS or CF. There is even a very easy mechanism for this in the case of catchers: playing the position wears you down. At some point (which is much earlier than with other positions), the team is better off moving to the new guy. If you are talking about wins above replacement, that’s what it means for an elite catcher to be less valuable. It doesn’t mean they are less awesome as a player in a general way. But by the standards of WAR, they definitely are lesser.

                • Michael

                  mpowell: I think we’re in definition territory here again. Naturally a catcher will have a smaller career WAR, like he’ll have fewer career hits and HR. So the value of a catcher has to be measured over a catcher’s career term, and really his value to the team is his marginal value over other catchers, since every team plays one. Of course a catcher won’t play 150+ games, but not all games are equal. And of course a catcher will have a shorter career, but if that’s a disqualifier than Sandy Koufax shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame. If WAR isn’t capturing this than I do think WAR is an inadequate measure.
                  I respect the effort to cut through the enormous layers of subjective BS that overlay player evaluations. But sometimes folks who rely on these formulas exclusively begin to sound to me like “Freshwater” economists, who refuse to believe that their models haven’t captured the whole of the universe.

          • Scott Lemieux

            Jackson too

            Even in total career this isn’t obvious to me, but looking at Jackson’s tenure as a Yankee Jeter not only beats him in career value but in peak value.

          • Sherm

            Probably Whitey Ford 7th after Berra and/or Jeter. Fifth is a coin toss imo.

        • joe from Lowell

          All right, I take it back.

          If you apply a position adjustment, like the ones used in calculating WAR, then Jeter makes the top 10 in Yankee history, and that would be a perfectly reasonable way to do the calculation.

          • joe from Lowell

            But, then, I’m giving Berra a position adjustment to include him.

            Hmmm…

    • Sherm

      An argument can be made for fifth or sixth. But some jerkoffs here in the NY sports media are actually claiming that he’s second.

      • Anon21

        I assume that’s after eliminating Ruth for trying sheep testosterone and Mantle for boozin’ and DiMaggio for… putting his country above his team? Maybe toss out Gehrig while you’re at, for lacking the will to stay on the field. Derek Jeter: greatest Yankee ever.

      • brad

        Well, yeah. The old school repressed homoerotic obsession many of a certain mindset in the NYC area have for Jeter is annoying. A former close friend once viciously insulted me for describing Jeter’s defense rationally.
        But there’s a lot of emotion at play for these sad bastards, and even assholes have feelings. O’Reilly and Trump will say stupider things about more important issues in their next breaths anyway.

    • keta

      My List of All-Time Yankee Greats

      1. George Steinbrenner
      2. Billy Martin
      3. Jim Bouton
      4. U.S. Grant
      5. Marv Throneberry

  • N__B

    Scocca’s close, but I think it’s more like “Every major-league city will bring out Jeter and ceremonially lick his balls.”

  • Benjamin

    Let it commence? It’s already well underway.

    Pujols on Jeter: “On and off field, he’s the way you want your kids to grow up, Only Jesus is perfect, but he’s pretty close to that guy.”
    https://twitter.com/MikeDiGiovanna/statuses/434015690555527168

    • Mike Schilling

      Jeter is clean because, if you have a sportswriter-level IQ, steroids=bulging muscles and tons of power. Never mind that sprinter use them too.

  • mark f

    Hey, he was the second-greatest shortstop of his era on the Yankees.

  • Denverite

    YEAH JETES, YEAH JETES

    • sharculese

      That’s like all I can think of when I hear his name, now.

  • JMG

    It’s a perfect epistemic conundrum which you defined correctly. All the bullshit about how great Derek Jeter was/is as a player prevented many folks from seeing he was a great player. PS: I would rate Rivera ahead of Jeter in Yankee all-timedom, but it’s a close call.

    • Sherm

      Except that I have yet to meet a “Jeter-hater” who doesn’t think that Jeter was great.

  • rea

    Not as good as Trammell.

  • Thlayli

    Someone who received a similar level of fawning was Pete Rose. When he was found to have human flaws, the journalistic reaction took on a tone of “How could you do this to me??”

    • Another Holocene Human

      Wasn’t Rose one of those Paul Ryan-style press courters/manipulators?

      Journamalists have egos too, you know!!

      • Anonymous

        The more of a crusty old-school “baseball guy,” the harder they work the phones. Without fail. Tommy Lasorda is basically an aged Italian Mean Girl. I wish I were lying.

        • keta

          Lasorda is a gem if only for his single line to reporter during spring training as they watched a rookie botch fly ball after fly ball.

          “That guy’s taken more balls off his chin than Rock Hudson.”

  • Another Holocene Human

    So you gripe about someone else’s nothingburger commentary by putting up a nothingburger post.

    Derek Jeter’s a Yankee, and YANKEES SUCK but he’s not some sort of insane asshole like Darryl Strawberry so he’s probably just a lot less interesting to scandalmonger broadsheets and he’s not a pitcher so all the wannabe moneyball nuts have nothing to bore you with. Dude was just a really solid MLB hitter; he comes up and routinely gets OB if not a triple or something. Respect. We sometimes forget how much talent and training that requires.

    But since he’s not a jerk, loose cannon, criminal, or libertarian state money burning freak like his roided and/or bloody red ankled colleagues he’s just not that interesting to discuss.

    • MikeJ

      To be fair, Schilling didn’t burn that money, a good bit of it went to a lot of developers. I’m ok with that sort of redistribution of wealth.

  • andrew long

    is durability really associated with steroids?

    the hagiography is absurd, but… he is a one-team player who meant *everything* to the team and its fans for a long time. that’s not common anymore, and people are being mawkishly nostalgic about it. it happens.

    and uh, being the number 5 Yankee of all time *doesn’t* deserve fawning? not sure that tracks.

    • Scott Lemieux

      is durability really associated with steroids?

      Both durability and non-durability can be associated with steroids. That’s the beauty of unfalsifiable arguments! If a player was a one year wonder — steroids! If he had a sustained peak of excellence in his late 30s — steroids!

      • brad

        That’s the thing that really bugs me about PEDs; this idea that Lou Ferigno (sp?) helps you figure out who was on them.
        Pitchers use them to recover more effectively between starts as much if not more than to improve performance directly, and as aids in recovery from chronic injuries it’s entirely possible that stigma aside there might be actual medical science being created by some of these pill poppers.

      • mark f

        Good point. I remember when “often injured” was an indicator of steroid use.

  • According to this WAR ranking, Jeter is 3rd behind Wagner and Ripkin – which sounds about right to me:
    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1181426-50-greatest-shortstops-in-mlb-history

    Yeah, A-Rod was a better fielding and hitting SS, but he hasn’t played that position since the end of 2003, when he came to the Yanks, and became their 3rd Baseman.

    Jeter seems to have some of the same magic that Joe D. had when he played.
    Now, decades later, we found out what a warped man DiMaggio was.

    From all appearances, and in a much different, much more open and intrusive, age, I doubt if we’ll discover that Jeter’s an asshole, like DiMaggio was.

    • brad

      Eh, he’s an arrogant prick, but judging jocks on their humanity is misguided at best. As an entertainer he’s been the rock on a great show for decades. Call him the Lenny Briscoe of the Yankees.

    • Joshua

      The media back in the day smoothed over the rough edges of guys like Mantle and DiMaggio, it doesn’t work like that anymore.

      Jeter played hard and loves the ladies. That’s pretty much it and I doubt there’s much more. Even his foundation seems pretty solid, judging by the usual athlete foundation standards.

    • BobS

      A-Rod was a better fielder and hitter at shortstop. The Yankees would have been a better team if their captain had accepted what was obvious to everyone else.

      • James E. Powell

        This argument doesn’t go far because the sports commentariat does not like A-Rod.

  • Joshua

    Grantland posted a GREAT article about Jeter’s defense last year. Unfortunately a lot of pictures are broken but it’s still worth reading.

    http://grantland.com/features/the-tragedy-derek-jeter-defense/

    Basically, it says this: Late in Jeter’s career, Cashman sat him down and told him his defense sucked. Jeter was shocked because nobody in the org ever told him. He made a concerted effort to improve… and did. Unfortunately, it came right around the time his skills started to naturally decline. One wonders what would have happened had Cashman or whomever had that conversation five or ten years earlier.

    Anyway, Jeter is obviously a HOFer, first ballot because that’s the only way the HOF makes sense.

    • Brien Jackson

      Joe Torre, unanimous Hall of Famer ladies and gentlemen!

    • mpowell

      That was a fascinating article. I like the fact that all of the love that Jeter was getting at the time actually ended up hurting the Yankees because he just continued his bad habits. Not that it likely turned in series or anything… but still.

  • howard

    just for the record: i don’t think he should be in the hall of fame.

    i personally don’t think that being an extremely good player for a very long time shouuld equal hall of fame-dom, and while i regard defensive statistics as in their infancy and not necessarily accurate to the nth degree, there’s no doubt that he had no range at his best, and he didn’t quite have enough power, in my book, to offset it.

    i’m sure lots of people are going to show up to say “he’s as good as ‘x’ or ‘y’ in the hall,” to which my answer is: i think there’s too many players in the hall. (to be more concrete, i think the hall should consist of the top 1% of players all time, and instead, it amounts to something more like 1.25%+ of eligible players, and it’s right there at that .25 that i think jeter falls).

    there’s nothing wrong with being an a student: it just ain’t an a+.

    he solved a key lineup problem for 20 years, he was an important part of 5 world series winners, he’s certainly the best shortstop the yanks have ever had, and his utter consistency (when you look at his career stats, month-by-month, they are incredibly consistent, as are his regular and post-season stats), like that of rivera, was extraordinary, and that’s plenty good enough for me.

    • brad

      I really hope for your own sake you’re just trolling, because otherwise you’ve made yourself ridiculous.

      • Brien Jackson

        Yeah, this.

        And it’s really worth pointing out that, so far as his total career goes, people are now actually underrating Jeter’s defense. Using Fangraphs number, for example, Jeter was just 25-26 runs below an average shortstop for his career. That’s not good, but it’s not terrible either, and weighted against his durability and tremendous offensive production it’s basically nothing more than a footnote on his career.

        • howard

          many years ago, i argued to scott that jeter couldn’t be the worst defensive shortstop in history, because you couldn’t win 4 series in a row with the worst defensive shortstop in history out there.

          and scott’s response was yes you can.

          putting that aside, no, i don’t think jeter is the worst shortstop in major league history, but i think if you’re making a case for the hall of fame for a player who is medicore defensively, then the hitting argument should be ironclad, and as i say, i think jeter just misses out on that front.

          • djw

            i argued to scott that jeter couldn’t be the worst defensive shortstop in history, because you couldn’t win 4 series in a row with the worst defensive shortstop in history out there.

            and scott’s response was yes you can.

            Independent of any conclusions we might wish to draw about how bad Jeter’s defense was and/or his HOF-worthiness, Scott is obviously and completely correct about this. To even contemplate the alternative is to badly and hugely overestimate the extent to which any one player is determinative of outcomes over a couple dozen games.

          • Brien Jackson

            But again, your argue fails categorically. Jeter is fourth all time in wRC+ among shortstops with at least 7,500 plate appearances behind Wagner, A-Rod, and Vaughn. If you drop the threshold to 7,000 plate appearances, Boudreau is one point better than him. There’s no way you can call that anything but exceptional offense.

        • Paul Clarke

          The “Def” column on Fangraphs includes the position adjustment, so that’s actually 25 or 26 runs below the average fielder. I make that about 150 runs below the average shortstop; Baseball Reference likes him less and puts him at 230 below the average SS.

          • mpowell

            One thing I’ve never understood about position adjusted WAR – it just assumes the manager makes the right call where to play the player right? I mean, what if Jeter was just a bad fielding SS and they really should have moved him somewhere else and would have been better as a team? And then Jeter would have had less negative dWAR, but his adjusted total WAR might have been lower. I really think using the same position adjustment for bad defensive players is questionable.

            • Brien Jackson

              If he was spectacularly bad, the positional number would be mitigated by the value of the runs he was costing the team. That’s why defensive numbers are compared to the positional average.

              • mpowell

                I don’t think this really work. I think you are assuming that managers are generally making the correct call. Let’s assume that managers were overly focused on defense and only played very light hitting great defensive shortstops. The offensive positional adjustment for SS would be huge. But suppose there were a slew of players out there who could deliver +3oWAR and -1dWAR at SS, but they are stuck playing 1B instead because their managers are collectively over valuing defense at SS. Then the guy who is just good enough defensively to play SS and is a decent hitter will look better than he really is.

                But all this only relates to Jeter if he is awful defensively, not just below average. (I don’t know the answer to that one. I know he’s below average, but I’m not sufficiently confident in fielding metrics to say more than that) If the pool of SS included guys who were also awful defensively (by current notions of the term), the offensive positional adjustment would be much lower.

                Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure positional adjustments really do rely on managers getting things close to right. I think it’s a lot easier to compare players who play the same position.

                • Brien Jackson

                  ” Then the guy who is just good enough defensively to play SS…”

                  Well, this is a very valuable thing, and I think what’s going on here is that you’re undervaluing it. As to the hypothetical player who has no business playing shortstop, again, whatever premium he gets for being penciled in at shortstop is going to be more than canceled out by the negative value of his defense if he’s so abysmal he really has no business playing there.

                • mpowell

                  I think you’re missing the concept that if there are a slew of guys who could play a position like SS while offering -1dWAR vs +3oWAR compared to the current pool of players allowed to play the position, the oWAR position adjustment would be different than if those players were allowed to play SS. It relies on things being more or less already correctly done regarding position assignments.

          • Brien Jackson

            No, unless they changed the calculation, the defensive number compares players to their positional peers. And if they changed it they’re either doing two different positional adjustments, which would be weird, or their component stats and final WAR tabulation don’t add up.

            • Paul Clarke

              UZR (or TZ) compares a player to his positional peers – you can see Jeter’s career total for that in the Value section under Fielding, and it’s -138.8. That section also gives you his career total positional adjustment, which is 113.1. Those two combined give you the -25.7 Defense value that also shows up as “Def” in the dashboard. The dashboard used to have just the UZR/TZ value, but that was changed a while ago.

              • Scott Lemieux

                Right. If you compare Jeter to his peers, there’s no way in hell he’s only 20 runs below average for his career. If you look at his Fielding Runs Saved since 2003, he’s generally between 13-24 runs below average every year. Unless you think he was Ozzie Smith before that, he’s way below average for a SS.

                Only 26 runs below average as a defensive player period, though, I’ll buy.

      • howard

        no, i’m not trolling in the slightest. a lot of this kind of thing leaves me cold – is so and so the fifth or sixth best of this or that strikes me as a great way of wasting time and i don’t spend much effort indulging in it – but broadly speaking, i don’t have a thing against jeter.

        i simply think that he didn’t quite have enough power – even for a shortstop – to offset that he was a lousy fielder.

        • Sherm

          i simply think that he didn’t quite have enough power – even for a shortstop – to offset that he was a lousy fielder.

          Yes, and that is a good argument for why its more than fair and reasonable to opine that Jeter is massively overrated and not in the same class of other Yankee greats such as Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle and Dimaggio. But there is no factual basis for concluding that Jeter was not a HOFer.

        • brad

          And every quantifiable metric along with every rational fan disagrees.
          There’s more to the game than hitting home runs, and his defense, like David Eckstein, has in some ways been so overrated and maligned that no one, probably including me, has any rational view on it.
          Fangraphs just had a piece about various ways of looking at Jeter’s d, but to call him a mediocre offensive player is to not understand the value of positional adjustment, and to simply ignore the direct, actual record.

          • howard

            perhaps you could show me where i called him a mediocre offensive player: that would be something to crit me for!

            look, brad, take my word for it: i understand the issue of positional adjustment for hitting. i simply don’t quite think that he’s been quite superior enough as a hitter – if he’d had a few more ’99 seasons, case closed, but he didn’t.

            obviously i’m a minority here, and i can take it, but don’t assume that i haven’t thought about this just because i don’t find your argument compelling enough.

            • brad

              His career wRC is 121, OPS+ is 117. He’s gotten on base by hit, walk, or hbp over 4500 times in his career.
              To call him simply a compiler is to call him mediocre. If you were talking about, say, Biggio, maybe. The guy had a HOF peak, then many semi-productive years of number padding. Jeter led the majors in hits in 2012, and had an MVP caliber season as late in his career as 2009.

              • howard

                brad, when i say an a is not an a+, i don’t know why you think i’m actually calling it a c.

                this is not that complicated: jeter has been an asset to his team and he’s been part of 5 world champions, which is the stat i care about most. he’s been a yankee all-timer. and he without question has been a better player over time than people who are in the hall.

                so if you accept the hall’s standards, then jeter is a hall of famer.

                i do not accept the hall’s standards as i’ve already outlined: i think there are 20% or so too many players in it, and if you apply my standards, then jeter falls short.

                it’s not an insult, and to tell you the truth, while jeter rightly expects to go to the hall of fame, i’m pretty damn sure that he, like i, values his role in the 5 rings more.

                • Arouet

                  A future first-ballot HOFer does not even come close to falling into the bottom 20% of players you think don’t deserve to be in the Hall. Even by your ridiculous metric, Jeter is a shoo-in.

                • djw

                  i do not accept the hall’s standards as i’ve already outlined: i think there are 20% or so too many players in it, and if you apply my standards, then jeter falls short.

                  This doesn’t really save your argument. Take HOF hitters as a group, and produce an “average” HOFer. Jeter is presently 5 WAR ahead of them.

                  WAR is not perfect. Perhaps your suspicions–that WAR is overrating his defense or undervaluing the role of power in general–are accurate. But to get him down to a 20th percentile HOFer, WAR would have to be really, really badly wrong–overrating him by around 15 WAR. It’s not a philosophical debate about the size of the hall, as you’ve portrayed it, since Jeter’s a 55th percentile HOFer, not a 20th. If you have an argument for how or why WAR is so wrong about Jeter, that would be interesting but you certainly haven’t come close to providing it.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  Yeah, he’s above average for a HOF SS. You lop off the bottom 50%, let alone 20%, and he’s in. He’s not a marginal case.

                • Bill Murray

                  But then Scott, since Howard’s argument is that the bad choices shouldn’t be in the Hall your comparison says nothing about his argument.

                  If you throw out the bottom ~20% (Ward, Maranville, Rizzuto, Jackson) as Howard said, the JAWS component averages move to 72.8 and 45.6 (59.2 JAWS) so that Jeter (56.9 JAWS) moves to slightly below Hall average and to the middle of the SS (8th of 17) pack. throw out the other bad choices (IMO, Jennings, Bancroft and Sewell) the JAWS average Hall SS averages go to 78.0 and 47.2 (62.6 JAWS) and Jeter would never get near this JAWS as he would need to equal his last 5 years production to get there — he would need to match his last 4 years to get to the average of the top 80% JAWS.

                  So by Howard’s standard Jeter is average to slightly below average under the less restrictive definition (dropping the bottom 20%) and well below average under the more restrictive definition (dropping the bad choices). Obviously my bad choices may not be the same as yours, as for instance, I left in Aparicio and Tinker but dropped Sewell. Jeter won’t be the worst player in the Hall but won’t really drive it to greater heights either

                  Jeter needs 1.2 WAR to catch Trammell in JAWS and yet Trammell managed only 20.8% of the vote and Jeter may be a first ballot selection

                • rea

                  Well, so evidently you think Phil Rizzuto was better, since he had 8 rings.

        • Brien Jackson

          Jeter has a .446 career slugging percentage and .134 ISO. I don’t see how that’s not enough power to offset being a below average fielder (for comparison’s sake, Fangraphs has Jeter as 25.7 defensive runs below an average shortstop for his career, but 369.1 offensive runs better than a replacement level hitter).

          • howard

            so just for fun, before i have to abandon this argument, i just took a quick look at the isolated power of some modern shortstops:

            banks (regarded, like jeter, as of very small range): .226

            ripken (certainly a better fielder than jeter): .171

            larkin (certainly a better fielder than jeter): .149

            trammell (certainly a better fielder than jeter): .130

            this is exactly why i think his power falls just a touch short: if he had an isolated power of .150, my work here would not only be done, it would never have started since i’d say that offset the fielding enough!

            • brad

              So it’s not a power hitting position.
              Just for fun, let’s look at the career OBPs of those same players (with PAs and times on base (h+w+hbp) included for more context):
              Banks: .330, 10394, 3416
              Ripken: .340, 12883, 4379
              Larkin: .371, 9057, 3334
              Trammell: .352, 9376, 3252

              Jeter (to date): .381, 11968, 4527

              Granted, the era inflates Jeter’s numbers a little bit, and this season will almost certainly drag the career OBP down a few points, but he’ll also add a few more PA and times on base.

              Getting on base, not making an out, is the single most important and valuable thing a batter can do.

              • joe from Lowell

                Getting on base, not making an out, is the single most important and valuable thing a batter can do.

                If Derek Jeter had played a few decades earlier, and his manager had told him to get up there and swing the bat, would he have been a less-great player?

                • brad

                  Would the Mick have had a career .600 OBP?
                  Some players still managed to take walks, somehow.

                • Sherm

                  His OBP was driven by high BA and lots of HBPs.

                • Sherm

                  Brad — no one understood that a walk was better than an out until Billy Beane came along and wrote that book about himself.

                • joe from Lowell

                  Some players still managed to take walks, somehow.

                  Do you actually want to stick your neck and claim that the difference in eras doesn’t exist, or are you just going to leave it in this sufficiently-deniable-if-called-on-it form?

                • brad

                  Ok, how about this list, same players’ career BB% from fangraphs.

                  Banks: 7.3%
                  Ripken: 8.8%
                  Larkin: 10.4%
                  Trammell: 9.1%

                  Jeter: 8.7%

                  You were saying?

                • brad

                  And if walk rates are higher now than historically (maybe versus the 80s, but not the 50s) then Jeter is closer to average at taking them than the guys who already have higher BB%s. So even if what you’re arguing is true as a general proposition, Joe, then it’s more untrue, actually, of all but possibly Banks, when compared to Jeter.

                • brad

                  And since I’m being a bit of a dick and piling on already, and this is interesting data to look at, this list at fangraphs gives the yearly seasonal averages for mlb back to 1901. The walk rate now isn’t exceptional, historically speaking. A few highs and lows aside, the biggest seeming to be the highs of the late 40s and early 50s, the rate has actually been fairly stable since rising slowly as the liveball era began.

                • joe from Lowell

                  Raw walk percentages don’t take into account how pitchers have changed their games to account for how the batters changed theirs.

                  I’m going to ask you a third time, since you still won’t stick your neck out and answer yes or no: do you actually think that Derek Jeter in 1949 would have approached his plate appearances the same way as Derek Jeter in 2001?

                • brad

                  I think they would have told him to swing less, actually. The k% in 1949 was 9.3, over Jeter’s career it’s mostly been between 16-17.
                  And even now, Jeter strikes out a lot for a non-power hitter. 1949 is actually the highest single walk rate of any year in the sample.
                  Tell me again what you’re trying to argue?

                • djw

                  I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make, Joe. It seems pretty obviously unanswerable, because a) I have no idea how much Jeter alters or shapes his batting approach due to coaching, or b) how his results might have changed with a different approach. Speculation on either of those questions seems pointless.

              • howard

                the best adjustment we can make is ops+: jeter (117), larkin (116), trammell (110), and then his most comparable, in my estimation, banks (122).

                and banks, of course, we really need to subdivide as shortstop and 1st basemen: as a shortstop, banks’ ops+ went like this: 94, 144, 136, 149, 155, 156, 144, 123.

                i’ll compare that to jeter’s best 9-year ops run (i’m going to 9 years to allow for his 2 best): 127, 153, 128, 124, 111, 125, 114, 125, 132.

                so he added a little more offensive value than guys who were clearly superior to him in the field, and somewhat less offensive value than someone comparable to him in the field.

                sounds like an A player to me, but i like my hall of famers A+.

                • Sherm

                  Was Paul Molitor a HOFer? Jeter = Molitor imo.

                • brad

                  Except you’re comparing a 20 year career to only half a career. Banks had a higher peak, there is no question, few in baseball history have had a comparable one. To make players meet that standard is a very small Hall indeed. There would barely be, maybe, 2 dozen members.
                  And Banks’s highest fWAR after age 30 was 3. In those 10 seasons he only had 4 worth as many as 2 WAR. Jeter had 2 6 WAR seasons in 9, really 8 considering last season, and 6 seasons worth at least 3 WAR.

                  Banks is no A+, his career f- and bWAR are both around 10 below Jeter’s.

    • Scott Lemieux

      He wasn’t just a very good player for a long time; he was a great player. He had a very good case for at least 2 MVP awards.

      • howard

        i’ll make the argument here that i would also make to brien: there’s a difference between having a great season and having lots of great seasons.

        jeter’s hallmark, year in and year out, was to have a very good season. a couple of times, he did have a great season.

        but i’m not a fan of saying that just because someone played many very good seasons, that transmutes into career greatness.

        • brad

          6 5 fWAR seasons (rounding one 4.9 season up).
          4 6+ fWAR seasons.
          Around 75 career fWAR, assuming a very small but positive value this season, possibly a few WAR higher.
          .381 career on-base. wRC 121.
          ~3400 career hits. 1900 runs. 350 SB
          5 rings.

          It’s very much up to you not to like the Yankees, but be rational. Jeter is like Tony Gwynn; overrated and still an all timer.

          • Scott Lemieux

            Just FYI, Howard is a Yankees fan.

            • brad

              Oh, whoops.
              That’s just odd, then.

          • howard

            brad, really, calm down: i’m a lifelong yankee fan. this has nothing to do with dissing jeter, it’s just my opinion (which is part of my broader opinion that the hall has too many players in it).

            i’ve loved having jeter on my team….

            • brad

              I’m not worried about defending Jeter, but to keep him out of the Hall would, to me, suggest you would keep it from ever reaching 100 members. That’s a very, very small Hall.

              • Well, it SHOULD be small.
                Or, smaller.
                I agree with Howard on that.

                But it’s been watered down from almost the very beginning.
                And especially when Frankie Frisch was on the Old Timer’s Committee, he pretty much put in everyone he ever met in his numerous team’s locker-rooms – except the batboys.

                But I think if you go by WAR, and Jeter being among the top 5 almost no matter how you look at it, he’s a HOF – regardless of how mediocre a fielder he may have been.
                As every teammate ever said, ‘for the last out of a game, I want it hit to Jeter!’
                Of course, they had the grace not to add the word “directly!”

                His range to his right was pretty good, particularly early in his career. It’s his range to his left that was always lacking.
                And I don’t remember him ever muffing an over-the-shoulder catch.

                If the HOF were starting today, and you limited to the top 10 players at each position – and, imo, I don’t think starting it at the top 10 at every position is TOO inclusive – then Jeter would be in.

                That’s my definition of a HOFer!
                And from then on, you can add to that top 10.

                Them’s my $0.02!

            • JMG

              By the historical standards of the Hall, Jeter is more than qualified. He was, to use the simplest valuation possible, almost universally seen as one of the game’s best players for 15 years, or more than one career generation. As for there being too many players in the Hall, maybe so, but there’d be at least 50 guys already in who rate far below Jeter. He’s no place to start.

              • howard

                well, at least we’re getting beyond “how can he say that about derek jeter” and into the heart of the matter, so let’s turn to some numbers.

                through 2007 (which i could put my hands on, and even though it should be 2009, it’ll do) there had been 16,187 major league players.

                in my book, 1% of them should be hall of famers, or, give or take, 162.

                we currently have 237 former players in the hall of fame (and i’m doing this quickly and not double-checking every source, so some of those 237 are probably negro league players who weren’t counted in the 16,187, and some may be really in as managers, not as players, but close enough).

                so as i said up above to brad, and as my old buddy jmg said here, by the standards of 237, then jeter is a hall of famer.

                if it were the standards of 162, in my book he wouldn’t be.

                that’s the argument, pure and simple, and yes, jeter will go in first ballot precisely because, as jmg says, we can’t first go in and kick out 50+ others….

                • Anon21

                  Are you so sure that Jeter’s not in the top 1% of players ever? I’m certainly not.

                • howard,
                  Now, spread that 162 to all positions.

                  You’d have to have 8 fielding positions – and a DH? I’d say yes, it’s a legitimate position, albeit in only one US Major League.
                  And then account for the pitchers – mostly starters, because “Closers” are a recent addition/phenomenon.

                  Then in the HOF, you’d only have the top 12-14 position players, DH’s, and pitchers.

                  Are you telling me that Jeter isn’t comfortably among the top 10-15 SS’s in history?

                  And as for HR power in SS’s, outside of Cronin, Vern Stephens, and a small handful of others, HR-hitting SS’s started with Banks, then there was Petrocelli, then Ripkin, and then the SS’s in the PED era.

                  Now, factor in Jeter’s 525 doubles, and 65 triples, and you have a pretty powerful SS – just not a lot of HR’s. But 256, is a respectable number. Just not some of the guys I listed above.

                  And also factor in that he’s a right-handed in Yankee Stadium, where HR’s to left and center often die an early death short of the fence, and that he probably hit a good portion of his HR’s to right field.

                  In any era besides the PED and post PED era’s, he’d have been looked at as a very great hitter, with a hell of a lot of pop for a SS!

                • howard

                  well, i am sure, which is why i’m carrying on here, so let me say why.

                  in my mind, the hall of fame is for the greatest players: the greatest players, to me, are those that either are so demonstrably superior in one aspect of the game that it outweights their deficiencies in others (ted williams, for example) or that are all-round outstanding players in the first place (willie mays).

                  so we can debate whether jeter is the worst shortstop in history (the traditional lgm position!) or whether he’s merely a mediocre shorstop who has been overrated for a long time, but no one is going to try and make the argument that jeter was actually an outstanding shortstop.

                  so he needs to outperform on the hitting side by my analysis.

                  i just took a look at all 22 shortstops in the hall of fame, and jeter, if he retired right now, would be in the top third of on-base and slugging. i don’t quite think that constitutes sufficient outperformance.

                  now, there’s a different argument to be made about team value and so on and so forth and there’s an enormous amount to be said for plugging a player in and solving a lineup problem for 20 years, and as i’ve noted before, where jeter has been truly all-world has been consistency, and there’s a lot to be said for that too.

                  so i am in no way dissing jeter, but that’s why i don’t think he’s top 1%: his offense doesn’t quite outweigh his defense.

                  that’s a different sort of question than, say, if ozzie smith had played for the 1996-2000 yanks instead of jeter, would they still have won 4 titles….

                • howard

                  c u n d gulag: i’m sitting here with the 2001 edition of bill james’ historical baseball reference looking at his then top 10 shorstops and attempting to calibrate and a lot does depend on how you value longevity, which i undervalue as a hall of fame component (i’m much more a peak value guy).

                  my guess is that james would slot him today somewhere between 8 and 13 (maybe james has this somewhere and i’m not aware of it?).

                • Brien Jackson

                  Well, there’s no real point in arguing with someone who is simultaneously massively overrating the value of defense and working from a laughably narrow standard for Hall worthiness.

          • Hey, let’s leave Tony (the greatest baseball player of his generation) out of this (Padres fan)

            • I neglected to mention Honus Wagner among the great HR hitting SS’s.
              Obviously, he wasn’t that, but then, neither was anyone else at much of any position in the Majors until Ruth.

              It’s hard to say how many HR’s Wagner would have his in the modern era – but take some of his doubles and triples, and turn them into HR”s, and it would surely have been a WHOLE HELL OF A LOT!!!!!

              • Howard,
                I know you’re not dissing Jeter.
                And I appreciate you point of view – and respect it!

                I was just trying to apportion the HOF per position.

                And btw – in his revised “Baseball Abstract,” James had Jeter listed as #20 – in 2001!

                Like you, I haven’t seen any updates by him since then.

                I think he’d probably have him in the Top-10, but we’ll have to wait and see.

                TIME FOR ANOTHER “ABSTRACT,” MR. JAMES!!!!!

  • brad

    Heh, curious how Mo got nothing but respect for his farewell lap, but Jeter getting the same is effectively half a troll on reflexive Yankee haters. All the guy did was, defense aside, be an all time great at his position anchoring a dynasty and possible best single season team ever. While getting rich, keeping his life private aside from the occasional dating rumor, and managing to be boringly stable despite…. everything.
    Selig, btw, has planned the same treatment for himself. He’s touring every fucking city this season. No word yet on whether he’ll make the natives dance for him, or just pretend to like him.

    • Sherm

      Because we only had to deal with one year of bullshit when Rivera retired. We’ve been dealing with the Jeter hype for close to twenty years already. We’re just bracing ourselves for a season long, league-wide circle jerk over clutch play, intangibles and leadership.

      • snarkout

        And the jump throw!

        • Sherm

          And lets not forget “The Catch”, when he made a fairly nice play and then ran twenty feet and dove into the stands face first for no fucking reason.

          • Sherm, he didn’t do that for “no fucking reason!’

            Watch the replay of that again – he was going full-speed and couldn’t stop from diving headfirst into the stands – knowing he might, could, probably would, get hurt!
            It’s not like he intended for his face to mash into the back of a seat, and for him to have to leave the game due to that, and some other injuries.

            And for great plays, how about that cut-off against the Oakland A’s, when he threw a laser to Posada right where he needed to, to catch the non-sliding “Baby” Giambi!?!?!?!?!?!
            Of course, if that knucklehead had slid, he’d almost surely would have been safe.

            • Sherm

              he was going full-speed and couldn’t stop

              I stand corrected. His lack of agility was reason enough.

              • Brrrrrrrrrrr…
                THAT’S COLD!

                How about something warmer, please!

                I’m doing the best I can throughout the day trying to get my handicapped ass (ok, my ass if fine – it’s my ankle, back, and hip) to clear our small porch, and the entrance to the garage, of two plus feet of wet, icy, snow!

                We call snow like this a “Widow-maker.”

                I’ll make a hot tea with some cheap vodka, a Splenda, and a slice of lemon, when I’m done.

                That’s a Russian hot-toddy – I call that a “Hotski Toddski”

                • Sherm

                  Good luck with that and take it easy. I’m still sore from all the digging out yesterday, and I’m in pretty damn good shape these days. I just hope that when I’m one of the old guys on my street, I have some younger neighbors decent enough to help me out half as much as I’ve been helping out all of my old neighbors this year.

                • Thanks.

                  Unfortunately, “easy” is the only way I can take anything, anymore. :-(
                  With my ankle, I can’t walk on either snow or ice – hell, I can’t even walk on grass!

                  There’s no stability – nothing holding it together.
                  My new brace helps, but it’s leather, and it can’t be worn if snow or rain can get into it – and with THIS much snow, there’s no way to keep it dry. I tried a plastic supermarket bag, but it’s slippery even when it’s on the brace, and IN the shoe. And snow STILL managed to get in!
                  OY!

                  I can only walk at all on hard floors, or paved streets.

                  This “aging” stuff, is vastly over-rated! ;-)

    • keta

      Bud Selig Retirement Tour Suggestion – Free of Charge!

      The first city on the tour inserts – just a smidgen – a stick approximately 36 inches in length (and studded with barbs for maximum holding power)into Selig’s rectum.

      Each successive city on the Bud Selig See Ya’ Later, Asshole Tour will get one hit on the stick.

      The original inserter and subsequent hitters will all be determined by lottery, giving one lucky fan at every tour stop an opportunity to be part of the celebrations.

      Once the Fuck You Bud Selig! Celebration Tour is over, and prior to game one of the World Serious, members of the Baseball Hall of Fame executive will select one of their colleagues to do the honour of violently pulling the stick out of Bud Selig’s anus. The stick will immediately be mounted on an infield-shaped green piece of felt, framed, and hung in a prominent display area at Cooperstown with a title plaque reading:

      Bud “Fuckwit” Selig
      Commissioner of Baseball, 1992-2014

      This Bud Selig Ass Stick symbolizes Mr. Selig’s commitment to ass sticks everywhere, especially in the record books of Major League Baseball.

      I can’t imagine a more fitting tribute. In fact, I’m tearing up a little just thinking about it.

  • need a nym

    But he did use steroids heavily late in his career. For some reason though, cortisone isn’t a “performance enhancer” and is thus okay.

  • Total

    The only thing as entertaining as watching Jeter’s farewell tour is going to be watching the Red Sox fans whine about it. Carry on!

  • wengler

    I’d be fine with the Jeterbation if at the end of it the Joe Morgans and Tim McCarvers of the world would add ‘and he notably gave a lot of leading ladies the herp.’

  • Jeter is arguably the best hitting shortstop ever.

    Jeter is definitely one of the biggest reasons the Yankees were as dominant in the late 90s as they were.

    Jeter is arguably one of the weakest links defensively those teams had but that was masked by the fact they could give up five runs but score six and win anyway.

    He belongs in the Hall. I’m a Mets fan who has hated the Yankees since Mantle, and Jeter is one player I could respect.

    • Stan Gable

      Jeter is arguably one of the weakest links defensively those teams had

      Eh, they were running Giambi at 1B, Soriano at 2B and Bernie in CF for a decent block of that time.

    • Walt

      The best hitting shortstop ever was unfairly moved to 3rd base when he joined the Yankees.

    • Bill Murray

      Jeter is arguably the best hitting shortstop ever.

      Maybe in Republican-style argument land. Jeter is battling it out for getting into the top-5 after Wagner, ARod and Vaughn, with Banks, Larkin, Yount, Boudreau, Cronin, Vern Stephens, Ripken and maybe Nomar

  • Rob in CT

    I think this season will be pretty painful, because he’s just about stick-a-fork-in-him done. But even though I’ve always been one of those Yankees fans who was down on Jeter’s D, I’m still a fan (though he was never my favorite. Bernie and Posada rank higher. None of the three were very good defenders, heh).

    The media fawning will of course be nauseating. Look, I found the Mariano retirement tour nauseating, and I love Mo.

  • keta

    I think whoever opined, “the internet is the death of all sports arguments” should be shot and pissed on for not understanding the substance of sports arguments.

    I also think any sports hall of fame – amateur or professional – is about as important as my left pinkie cuticle. But the spirited discussions they engender are pure magic.

  • jkay

    Wouldn’t Jeter be “clean” because he was white, unlike Rivera and ARod? Or Bonds.

    Wouldn’t skin color also why ARod got his absurd penalty, like the rest of the Drug War?’

    I’d know because I used be a typically tanned Puertorriqueno, and was massively discriminated against until the moment my tan left especially by radicals.

    • brad

      His father is black, his mother is white. Assign whatever racial identity you want, he doesn’t seem to really care, to his credit.

      • jkay

        I’m glad I was wrong. Shoulda read Wiki before posting. And that makes what he did far bigger than i realized. I’m totally sorry.

        Thanks for the correction.

  • Ed K

    Can we at least hope that when this is all over and done with, we’ll never have to see or hear from Jeter again? It might be worth it if he’d just. go. away.

    • JMG

      My guess, EdK is that Jeter will pretty much go away by his choice. He will probably be given some ceremonial semi-no-show job with the Yankees like “special spring training instructor” to be employed as reporter bait on slow news days, of which there are a lot in spring training. But otherwise, what public forum has Jeter ever sought out?

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