Derek Jeter’s pursuit of hit No. 3,000 has been put on hold, as “The Captain” was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a strained right calf.
Jeter, 36, who came off the statistically worst season of his career in 2010, in the offseason signed a new three-year contract with the Yankees worth $45 million, with an option for 2014.
Jeter is arguably one of greatest shortstops in baseball history, or is he not? This question splits the baseball community. He has won five championships and been named World Series MVP, All-Star game MVP and AL Rookie of the Year. He is an 11-time All-Star and has won five Gold Glove awards.
Despite all those achievements, Jeter does not get the respect that he deserves from both baseball fans and experts. The question is, what is Derek Jeter’s place in baseball history?
Yes, Jeter has his flaws and weaknesses. His batting average is the lowest since his rookie season, and he has lost some of his quickness, which is without a doubt important as a shortstop. On the other hand, his fielding percentage is in line with his average, and he only recorded four errors in 2010, which is the lowest number of his 16 years in the big leagues.
Over his career Jeter has provided heroics on the field and almost no off-field drama, not counting his numerous girlfriends and his feud with Alex Rodriguez.
No baseball fan will ever forget the “The Dive” against the Red Sox during a regular season game in 2004, or the night where he became “Mr. November” on Halloween 2001 in Game 4 of the World Series against the D-Backs. He hit the game-winning home run in the 10th inning three minutes after midnight, breaking a 1-1 tie and evening the series at two games apiece.
His greatest play ever, “The Flip,” also happened during the 2001 postseason.
In Game 3 of the ALDS matchup against the Oakland A’s, Jeter ran from short all the way to the first base line to catch an overthrown ball from the outfield that missed two cutoff men. He barehanded the ball and flipped it to Jorge Posada, who tagged out Jeremy Giambi at home and protected the Yankees' 1-0 lead over the A's in the seventh inning.
The reason Derek Jeter does not get the same respect as other players is because he is the Yankees and the Yankees are Derek Jeter. No other professional sports team divides the public more than the New York Yankees. You hate them or you love them; there is nothing in between.
It is the same with Derek Jeter. You can’t deny his baseball abilities and achievements, but you can hate him with all your passion because he is what we all want to be: a winner!
Derek Jeter will and should be a first ballot Hall of Famer. He stands among the greatest shortstops in baseball history, and instead of looking for flaws in his game, just enjoy watching one of the greatest of all-time doing what he does best: playing the game of baseball.