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Why Derek Jeter Deserves the Most Credit for the New York Yankees' Success

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 13:  Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees runs out to the field during introductions against the Detroit Tigers during Game One of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 13, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City, New York.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images
Colin TansitsContributor IOctober 15, 2012

For the first time since 1981, the New York Yankees have played a postseason game without Mariano Rivera or Derek Jeter on the roster.

Through thick and thin, Derek Jeter has been there for the Yankees and for the sport of baseball.

Throughout his entire career, The Captain has been a role model for both young and old alike. He is respected throughout professional baseball—honestly, it's tough not to like Jeter.

Now with No. 2 down and out for the Yankees, New York fans face an uncommon circumstance—life without Jeter.

But let's slow down, people.

Let’s not forget the reason why the Yankees are where they are right now; it’s Derek Jeter.

For years he has silenced critics not with his voice, but with his game. This season, Jeter has once again silenced his critics.

During a Bronx summer that was marred with inconsistent hitting and pitching, Jeter was the glue that held the pinstripes together.

Jeter finished the regular season with a .316 batting average and 216 hits, only three shy of his career high for a single season.

Along with his bat, Jeter had a solid year with the glove for a 38-year-old shortstop. He finished the season with a .980 fielding percentage, eight points higher than in 2011.

Besides Jeter, Robinson Cano was the only Yankee to finish the season hitting above .300.

As the Yankees’ leadoff hitter, Jeter's 683 at-bats were the most on the team.

Jeter played in 160 of 162 games while starting at shortstop 135 times. In short, Jeter was a warrior while playing through injury and fatigue (which is nothing new of course).

You could argue that Cano deserves the most credit for this season. He hit .313, drove in 94 runs and hit 33 home runs.

But numbers don’t tell the entire story.

Jeter is the undisputed leader of the Bronx Bombers, and has been for a while.

To steal from a line in the movie Remember the Titans, “Attitude reflects leadership, captain.”

For all of the adversity that the men in pinstripes faced this season, there was little talk of blame or excuses.

The team lost Brett Gardner and Andy Pettitte for much of the season. Alex Rodriguez spent time on the disabled list, along with Ivan Nova and CC Sabathia. Highly touted pitcher Michael Pineda was also sidelined all year with shoulder surgery.

And still, there was little negativity from the clubhouse.

Just to show an example of the importance of leadership within a clubhouse, take a look at the Boston Red Sox. With their lack of leadership, the team crumbled once they hit adversity.

Jeter played at a high level all season and lead the team through an up-and-down year.

Although Jeter is out until next spring, his performance both on and off the field has not gone unnoticed.

It might sound like the same story, different year, but Derek Jeter deserves the most credit for New York’s success this year.

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