If you are even aware of the existence of sports then you know that Derek Jeter is retiring. Today is his last game......EVAR!!!!!! (That is misspelled on purpose for those of you who aren't familiar with nerdy internet speak). I'm glad! I don't dislike Derek Jeter. In fact, there isn't much to dislike about the guy. Very good player, classy dude, says all the right things, doesn't act like Kanye West. The only thing he has going against him is the plays for the Yankees, which isn't even a bad thing if you're a Yankees fan or if you are indifferent towards the Yankees. Nevermind, everyone who isn't a Yankees fan hates the Yankees, indifference isn't really an option.
However, this year long celebration and endless tribute to Derek Jeter is WAY over the top. Keith Olbermann summed it up nearly perfectly in this rant. Check out the video, he nails it.
If you think Keith Olbermann is an obnoxious gas bag, skip over the video, I've collected the pertinent stats below.
Here are some of the points he makes that point out that Derek Jeter isn't all that legendary of a player.
1. Jeter only lead the American League in any offensive categories (doubles, home runs, runs batted in, stolen bases, batting average, on base percentage, and on base plus slugging) 3 times. Not many. He only lead his team in an offensive category 17 times... in 20 years. So basically he wasn't even close to being the dominant offensive player on his team.
2. But what about defense? Jeter has been a negative on the Yankees defense for a long time. He probably cost the Yankees several wins per year because of his limited range and below average defense. He should have moved to third and let Arod play shortstop.
3. MVP awards - zero! Got 2nd once. Rarely finished in the top 5 of MVP voting.
4. WAR - Wins Above Replacement - this is the stat that is currently used to determine a player's value, it has flaws, but most stat guys agree it's pretty darn accurate. His career WAR is about the same as Scott Rolen. Don't know who Scott Rolen is? Point proven.
5. Jeter ranks behind Graig Nettles and Red Ruffing for average WAR as a Yankee. Don't know who they are? Weird, they were more valuable as Yankees than Jeter has been. He is also behind Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Joe Dimaggio, Alex Rodriguez, Thurman Munson, Mike Mussina and Willie Randolph. Way more Yankees were on average more valuable to their team than Jeter, at least on the field.
6. Longevity - Where does he rank among the guys who have played the longest? Not well. Of the 19 players in baseball history with over 12,000 plate appearances, he leads that group in only once category - strike outs.
7. If he had convinced his coach to move him down in the batting order this year, the Yankees might still be playing for something this weekend. He has been that bad.
Keith's research team nailed. Once again, I repeat, I'm not a Jeter hater, I just grew tired of the seemingly infinite lauding of "The Captain". It's been ridiculous. The dude had a very successful career. He'll be a first ballot Hall of Famer just because of his hit total and his charisma, but let's not pretend he is an all time great player. He's way down the list of baseball greats, but at least he is on the list.