Written by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
Edited by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)
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Just this past Sunday, Major League Baseball released both the American League and National League rosters for this year’s All-Star Game in Minneapolis, Minnesota. To nobody’s surprise, 20-year New York Yankee veteran and “The Captain”, Derek Jeter, was announced to his 14th All-Star Game and 9th career All-Star Game start. Jeter may only be batting .273 with two home runs and 23 RBI this season, but it isn’t what Jeter has done in 2014 to earn the ASG start, it is what he did the previous 19 seasons to earn this honor during his final campaign.
Growing up as a Cleveland Indian’s fan, I was lucky enough to witness one of the greatest shortstops ever to play the game in Omar Vizquel. As I continued to grow into my baseball fandom, I couldn’t help but notice what this young kid out of New York was doing. I hated the Yankees and my grandfather called him a pretty boy, but Derek Jeter was taking the baseball world by storm. Jeter was doing everything that Vizquel did defensively and blew his production away offensively. From coming up bigger than ever in his five World Series titles to his countless highlight reels, Jeter has cemented himself as the greatest shortstop of all-time.
I will admit that it took me awhile to realize that. I was stuck behind rose-tinted glasses that only saw Jeter as a villain. If we are being honest, I would prefer to see Jeter in a different uniform because my dislike for the Yankees is that high, but at this stage in the game, can you imagine Jeter wearing anything but the Yankee pinstripes? Whether you love New York or not all of that is irrelevant with Derek Jeter. I have said it before and I will say it again, some may love him and some may hate him, but everybody should respect “The Captain”.
This final season for Jeter couldn’t have been scripted any better. There was no doubt that he would be starting this year’s All-Star Game in Minnesota no matter what he did this season. A career stat-line of .311 with 3,396 hits, 258 home runs and 1,282 RBI with his charming personality and the smile that makes every woman in New York melt is all that needs to be said about Jeter. We all saw how memorable last year’s All-Star Game was when Mariano Rivera said his goodbyes, and no disrespect to The Sandman, but this year’s farewell to Jeter will probably emotionally blow that out of the water.
Major League Baseball is starting Jeter in the All-Star Game not for this year’s numbers, but more as a thank you for everything he has done for the game. There have been many great shortstops over the years from Vizquel and Ozzie Smith to Cal Ripken Jr. and Honus Wagner, but with the consistent success that Jeter has put together over a 20-year period, there’s never been and may never be another career as impressive and memorable as “The Captain’s”.