Derek Jeter: The best of all time


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Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter says goodbye to his fans at Yankee Stadium.

Zach Kuehn , Staff Writer

As another Major League Baseball season comes to an end, we say goodbye to New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter as he retires from his 19-year MLB career.

In a season filled with ceremonies and gifts bestowed upon him for his career by the other MLB clubs, the Yankees failed to reach the playoffs for the second straight year, not allowing Jeter one last shot at a title to add to his five with the Yankees. Also, he made the playoffs 16 times in his career out of 19 seasons. Over his final three years with the Yankees, Jeter caught the injury bug but was able to play most of his final campaign. As the career of the face of baseball ends, we are left with a question, is he the greatest of all time?

The answer is a tough one, but I believe Derek Jeter is the best all time. While he doesn’t have the most World Series titles of any player, Jeter has excelled in many categories. He finished his career with 3,465 hits and 1,923 runs, which is good for sixth and ninth all-time respectively.  While he was never a home run hitter like Hank Aaron, Jeter was a consistent hitter who also finished with over 1,000 RBIs. Even though these career stats are extraordinary, does he compare to other MLB greats such as Babe Ruth or Willie Mays? Ruth, a former Yankee, has won seven championships over Jeter’s five and Ruth has over 2,000 RBIs and 714 home runs.

While Ruth had more success winning championships, Jeter had more success at the plate during the postseason. He played the most games in postseason history with 158 and the most postseason hits with 200. The postseason matters most in baseball, and Jeter has had the best postseason career of any player to date, which puts him in a different level from Ruth or Mays. People remember the guy that was a hero in the postseason, not a regular season MVP.

Besides being a clutch postseason hitter, Jeter is a born leader. He has and always will be called the captain of the Yankees. Throughout his career, Jeter was the leader of the team and the favorite son of the entire city of New York. In a recent  Sports Illustrated article, Tom Verducci describes Jeter as a type who doesn’t get angry very easily, but when someone goes against his baseball values, he corrects them. In baseball, leadership doesn’t come up often when discussing teams because a player doesn’t wear a captain patch on his jersey.

For Jeter, however, he has always been a clutch hitter for the Yankees, the one to turn to after a loss, or right before big games. One of the reasons the Yankees have been one of the better teams of the past few decades is because of great team building skills like Jeter’s. Without a doubt, Jeter is among the accomplished role-models baseball has ever seen, leading the Bronx Bombers to five World Series championships. Jeter has the leadership over all other players in baseball, making him the greatest to play the game.

With the playoff success, consistency as a hitter, and team rallying qualities, Jeter is the best to play the game of baseball. He might not have the most home runs or championships, but the way he conducts himself on and off the field makes him the best to ever play. The sport won’t be the same without number two in pinstripes.