Captain Amazing: Is Derek Jeter the Greatest Yankee Of All Time?

August 17, 2009   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

This past Saturday, Derek Jeter passed Louis Aparicio to become the all-time hits leader at the shortstop position.

With the Yankees on a tear this year, the Derek Jeter Era is still going strong.  He is a constant professional and the captain of arguably the most recognized franchise in all of sports.

Since every sports fan likes to debate with one another, I decided to ask this question:

Is Derek Jeter the greatest Yankee ever?

He has some stiff competition:

Babe Ruth-

The Sultan of Swat, The Colossus of Clout, The Great Bambino.

If there are baseball gods, then Ruth is their Zeus.  He is the greatest baseball player of all time and christened the original Yankee Stadium.  Long home runs are now refered to as “Ruthian Blasts”, and the reason why the Yankees wear pinstripes is because it made him look slimmer.

Off the field, he was said to never have turned down an autograph request from a kid and he was featured in a few feature films (he played himself in Pride of the Yankees, a biopic about fellow Yankee Lou Gehrig).

The only strike against Ruth is that he did not play his entire career with the Yankees, but I am not really holding that against him. 

Yogi Berra-

This man has a World Series ring for every finger.  All of his 10 championships came as a Yankee.  He is the most revered living Yankee and is the greatest catcher of all time.

Great Yankee players are defined by their skills, their heart, and by how many rings they wear.

Yogi may be one of baseball’s great characters, but he is also baseball’s ultimate champion.

Lou Gehrig-

Gehrig was the cleanup hitter for the famed Yankees lineup “murderer’s row”.  Although a humble and quiet person, on the field, his bat and glove did the talking.  In seven World Series, he hit .361 with 10 homeruns and also won two regular season MVP awards.

The Iron Horse also played in 2,130 consecutive games and spent his entire career in a Yankees uniform.

Everyone knows about his tragic death; he carried himself with dignity and grace throughout the whole ordeal.

Don Mattingly-

Donnie Baseball was one of the hardest workers day in and day out.  He was a great fielder and has a batting title and an MVP trophy to his name.  When he finally made the playoffs in 1995, he belted a clutch home run against the Mariners that sent the Stadium into a frenzy.

The only thing going against Mattingly is that he never won a World Series, or even played in one.  He only made the playoffs once, but the fans’ love for him could be the reason why he may be the greatest Yankee.

He is the only player on this list (other than Jeter) that is not in the Hall of Fame.  If Yankee fans had their way, he would be.

Joe Dimaggio-

The Yankee Clipper.  Dimaggio once said, “I want to thank the good Lord for making me a Yankee”. 

The Yankees should thank the good Lord for whatever scout found him playing for the Seals in the Pacific Coast League.

Dimaggio played in 10 World Series and the Yankees won nine of them.  Surprisingly, Dimaggio only hit .271 in 199 at-bats.

The bottom line is he won, and his 56-game hitting streak is one of those baseball records that will never be broken.

Mickey Mantle-

Mantle was a part of seven World Championship teams, but injuries really hampered his World Series statistics; however, he did hit an amazing 18 home runs in 230 at-bats.

He has three MVP awards and one Triple Crown in his long list of accomplishments.

Talking about his career usually leads to the question: What if?

If Mantle had taken better care of himself, he could have easily been the greatest player in baseball history.


Now, we return to the main subject of this story: Derek Jeter.

As mentioned earlier, Jeter has the most hits of any shortstop ever and barring any injuries, is a lock to be the first Yankee to reach 3,000 hits. 

“Mr. November” has been to six World Series and he has won four of them.  His postseason accolades are up there with the greats, including the epic home run he hit in 2001 against the Diamondbacks.  His play “the flip” against Oakland in the 2000 ALDS saved their season and is considered to be one of the most iconic plays in Yankee history.

He has been to ten All-Star games and is the only player to win the All-Star and World Series MVP in the same year.  Other awards include three Gold Gloves and three Silver Sluggers.

Jeter also holds the record for the most hits in the Original Yankee Stadium.  When he retires, he will no doubtedly be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Off the field, his Turn 2 Foundation has helped thousands of children.  Jeter is also the gold standard of player interviews; he never says the wrong thing. 

My personal favorite Jeter quote is: “there is a difference between being hurt, and being injured.”  He shows up to play everyday.

So now I turn it over to you:

Who is the greatest Yankee?  Is it Jeter?

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