Saturday, July 9, 2011

Ride, Captain, Ride

Most fans are cheering loudly as Derek Jeter approaches 3,000 hits. There is that subculture, though -- Mets fans, Red Sox fans, Yankee-haters, etc. -- that are eager to tell you how over-rated Jeter is, how he can't hit anymore, can't field, yadda, yadda, yadda. Is Jeter the same player he was in 2001? Um, no. Can you point out to me another player who is as good as he was 10 years ago? Didn't think so. To say that Jeter is over-rated today is missing the point entirely. (But then, the Yankee-hater crowd is never big on logic.)

There are still those who say that the only reason Jeter is so exalted is because he played in New York and that he played on great teams. "Oh, anyone could have won on those teams!" Well, that is a hypothetical argument that can never be proven. But there are plenty of players on good teams that have nothing to show for it, so Jeter can't be knocked for winning. (Again, there's that anti-logic at work.)

Yet there are still those who would point to other players, stats, and whatever else they can grasp to diminish Jeter's career. Well, guess what? He's going to have 3,000 hits. I don't care where you played or when you played, because if you've got 3,000 hits -- something only 27 players in the history of the sport have achieved -- that's pretty exclusive company. And as for the company Jeter will soon keep, he'll walk in head held high.

Of the right-handed batters who collected their 3,000th hit in the last 20 years, Jeter will have the highest career average to go with them:

  • Paul Molitor -- 3,319 hits, .306 career average
  • Cal Ripken, Jr. -- 3,184, .276
  • Robin Yount -- 3,142, .285
  • Dave Winfield -- 3,110, .283
  • Craig Biggio -- 3,060, .281
  • Rickey Henderson -- 3,050, .279
  • Derek Jeter -- 2,998, .312
Not too shabby. Congratulations, Derek! You deserve it.

No comments: