Derek Jeter is NOT a Baseball Player

Now, let me explain.  To me, Derek Jeter is more than a player.  He is more than his team's all-time hits leader, five-time Gold Glove and Silver Slugger recipient. He is...

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Would Derek Jeter be Legendary in Another Uniform?

As the curtain is drawing to a close on the career of one of the greatest players to ever play the game of baseball, I can’t help but wonder: what would things be like if Derek...

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How Jeter’s Retirement Becomes a Numbers Game

Photo is courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/ Written by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)

Edited by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)

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As sports fans, we don’t commonly associate an athlete to their statistics, but more the jersey number that they represent. To take it a step further, football has 7, basketball has 23 and baseball has 42. Some of the most famous jersey numbers in baseball came from the New York Yankees and while that is a testament to their greatness, the closely awaited retirement of Derek Jeter puts more than just the team’s future at shortstop in jeopardy.

 

At the conclusion of the 2014 season, Derek Jeter will officially retire from the New York Yankees and the game of baseball, as you already know. After the incredible career that Jeter has put together, it is pretty much a forgone conclusion that “The Captain” will be a Hall of Famer and have his #2 retired by the Yankees, but once he does, no number from 1 through 9 will ever be worn by a future Yankee ever again.

 

Prior to Jeter’s heroics, the Yankees retired the numbers of Billy Martin (1), Babe Ruth (3), Lou Gehrig (4), Joe Dimaggio (5), Joe Torre (6), Mickey Mantle (7), Yogi Berra & Bill Dickey (8) and Roger Maris (9). That is some pretty impressive company that Jeter will most likely be joining, but it also means that we will never see a single-digit number grace a Yankee uniform ever again. I understand that this is a very miniscule problem that future Yankees will face due to their respect for the game, but if you ask me, it does raise the question of whether or not jersey numbers should still be retired.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I am all about honoring the great ballplayers that made baseball what it is today, but as the game progresses and numbers continue to be retired, what happens when you don’t have enough numbers to field a full roster? I know that is strictly hypothetical and will probably never happen, but just think about it.

 

If we look at baseball 200 years from now, there will probably have been 20 more Miguel Cabreras, 15 more Clayton Kershaws and 3 more Babe Ruths. That isn’t even counting other future ballplayers that will be some of the game’s greatest and will have had their numbers retired as well. The New York Yankees currently have 17 retired numbers (18 after Jeter) and in 100 years, that number will probably double. After another 100 years, chances are that the historic and successful Yankees will have almost 60 numbers retired and unless baseball wants to allow triple-digit jerseys, these teams, especially the Yankees, are going to have to find a different way to remember and honor the past. I enjoy seeing Bob Feller’s #19 hanging up at Jacobs Field (Don't correct me, it will ALWAYS be Jacobs Field) as much as the next Indians fan, but once these teams run out of numbers, this problem will need to be solved.

 

Chances are pretty good that nobody agrees with me and Major League Baseball already has a plan in place for this, and if they do, good for them. It will be odd to never see a Yankee single-digit number ever again and maybe this will be an issue in a few hundred years, but as for present day, let’s just lean back, enjoy our peanuts and recognize the greats that brought baseball to its current promise land.

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One Final All-Star Game Go-Around for The Captain

Photo is courtesy of Jim McIsaac/Getty Images/http://espn.go.com/ 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”.