Jeff Pearlman

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Derek Jeter

jeter

As a reporter, I never much cared for Derek Jeter. His quotes are canned and terrible, his emotions never come out, he’s as guarded as a social security check.

As a baseball guy, however, how can’t you appreciate the guy?

Is Derek Jeter an all-time, all-time, all-time great, a la Mantle, Ruth, Rickey Henderson, Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax, etc? No. But he is an all-time great—the shortstop with the most hits, a four-time World Series champ, an undisputed leader and grinder.

That’s why, I truly believe, Jeter may way become the first unanimous Hall of Same selection.

I really do.

I know … I know—some moron voter will make a stand by voting NO; his chance to say, “If Ruth wasn’t unanimous, Jeter shouldn’t be.” But let’s think about this for a moment. In the modern era, Mike Piazza would qualify as a unanimous Hall of Famer—but his defense was horrid, and he used PED. Alex Rodriguez would qualify, but he also used PED, and was an oft-toxic clubhouse presence. Mariano Rivera is certainly worthy, but some dillweed will always punish a closer. Barry Bonds—ha! Manny Ramirez—double ha!

But Jeter, well, Jeter is perfect. First, look at his lifetime statistics. Second, look at the three Gold Gloves (yes, his defense isn’t what it once was. But, in 2009, it’s been very good). Third, look at the four titles. Fifth, look at the captaincy. Sixth, look at the clutch situations—especially The Flip against Oakland. Seventh, look at the dignified way he carries himself.

I thought it utterly insane that Rickey Henderson had a handful of voters who didn’t support his Hall bid, but the Rickster was, factually, arrogant and a wee-bit selfish. He didn’t deserve any Nays, but he didn’t always carry himself with professionalism.

Jeter is, for lack of a better word, perfect.

To vote against the man would be illogical. And downright stupid.

  • SF

    I think you mean PEDs, not PHDs. Unless, of course, those baseballers got advanced degrees during the offseason.

  • jweb271

    Yes, I would first-ballot him too, but I do hope there are some who don’t.

    First, I don’t buy into that whole you’re either in or you’re not thing. The Baseball HOF doesn’t work that way. It is what it is, and more than the fact that I happen to like what it is, I don’t understand why people want to change it to what they think it should be, rather than what it is.

    More to the point: baseball’s long memory is one of its best features. To put Jeter in unanimously is to say that’s it, that’s the best we’ve ever had, and ever will have. Jeter is not the best we’ve ever had or ever will. And while every new basketball player is “the next Jordan”, baseball’s never claimed a “next Babe Ruth” and hell, even the Babe wasn’t unanimous.

    In other words, let’s hold out for the ideal. And one day if there really is such a natural that we have to wear sunglasses to merely look upon him–a guy who pitches like Koufax for fifteen years, while hitting like Pujols–then we will be glad we waited so that we might bestow him with the greatest and most difficult to achieve accolade in all of American sports.

    Plus, there are arguments that Jeter’s defense was always pretty poor. I love the guy, but he’s not perfect.

  • Ted

    No freakin’ way.

  • Fire Jerry

    I can’t wait for the day when baseball fans come to their senses and realize the scam being pulled on them by the “holy sportswriters” and their outrage over PEDs. Just keep on perpetuating the “steroid users are evil” b.s., Pearlman, you’re not better than the rest.

  • Paulo

    I bet you never saw Ichiro playing.

  • Jeremy

    Is there some unwritten rule to make sure not everyone decides to be “that guy” that doesn’t vote a player in on the first ballot? What if everyone thought “everybody else is going to vote Jeter in, so I won’t just so he won’t be unanimous” and then Jeter only gets 5% of the vote. I know with Jeter that’s a little unrealistic, but what about guys like Jim Thome, etc?

  • “But Jeter, well, Jeter is perfect.”

    Is Tim McCarver ghost writing your blog?

    “Second, look at the three Gold Gloves (yes, his defense isn’t what it once was. But, in 2009, it’s been very good).”

    This isn’t true. He’s bad defensively and didn’t deserve any of his Gold Gloves.

    “Third, look at the four titles.”

    Ramiro Mendoza has five. What’s your point?

    “Fifth, look at the captaincy.”

    Since he’s been the captain of the Yankees, New York hasn’t won a World Series. That was probably your fourth point.

    “Sixth, look at the clutch situations—especially The Flip against Oakland.”

    Well, I guess one especially super-duper, gee wilkers CLUTCH play seals the deal. Derek Jeter for Super President!

    “Seventh, look at the dignified way he carries himself.”

    Oh, I agree. The Pope looks like a shithead compared to Derek Jeter.

    You should have stopped after your first point. Derek Jeter will make the HOF because of his numbers. You don’t need to create six more worthless points.

    Over his career, Jeter is the best shortstop–though he was never the best at one point. Garciaparra, Tejada and Rodriguez all had better peaks, but Jeter had the overall better career at the position. That’s enough.

  • Jeff Pearlman

    And what do Nomar, Tejada and A-Rod all have in common?

  • “And what do Nomar, Tejada and A-Rod all have in common?”

    I think that the answer that you’re looking for is (in Nomar’s case rumored) steroid use.

    My post wasn’t to disparage Jeter, because he’s truly a great player, but to point out that you don’t have to make up BS facts or use “intangibles”to make your point.

    His resume is there in black and white and stands on its own, there is no need to pad it. And I’m not sure why you or anyone else would do so.

    This is the reason why a lot of people don’t like Derek Jeter. It’s not the player, it’s the sycophants.

  • RedSox

    Im a Red Sox fan. I hate the yankees, but I love the high drama that can only happen when the stakes are high like in a Sox/yanks game. And as much as it hurts to say, part of that is Derek MF Jeter. If he were on the Sox, I ‘d love the guy. And he’s a stone pro. First ballot, no prob.
    And I hate the sucka.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life