June 26 – Happy Birthday Derek Jeter
Derek is in the midst of his eighteenth season as a Yankee. Since he put on the pinstripes the Yankees have made postseason play sixteen times, played in seven World Series and won five of them. He passed Lou Gehrig as the all-time leader in career hits as a Yankee during the 2009 season and last year became the first player in franchise history to reach 3,000 hits while wearing the pinstripes. I consider the five-for-five game he put together to reach that magical plateau one of the greatest all-time individual game performances in Yankee franchise history. He is among the top ten Yankees lifetime in just about every offensive category and in most cases among the top five. As of this morning (06-26-2012) Jeter was in fifteenth place on the all-time hits list with 3,181, just three behind Cal Ripken.
He is an extremely gifted player and team leader who somehow copes perfectly with the stresses of being a star athlete in the Big Apple. There are those who claim Jeter is over-rated. Those of us who follow the Yankees on a game-by-game and season-by-season basis ignore such ignorance.
I’m the first to admit that age has impacted Jeter’s overall abilities on the baseball field. He’s not the player he was five years ago. But he is still good enough to start at shortstop for the New York Yankees.
When Derek is ready to call it quits, his number 2 jersey will be retired and five years later he will enter Cooperstown. Watching him get there has been one of the great pleasures I’ve experienced as a fifty-two-year fan of the Bombers.
The predictions that Jeter was destined to become a great Yankee that were made at the beginning of his career turned out to be correct. Similar predictions made for this former Yankee outfielder who shares “The Captain’s” June 26th birthday would turn out to be far less accurate.