Derek Jeter: secure among Yankee legends, strong case as best shortstop ever

9 07 2011

Derek Jeter’s place in Yankee history is secure. He has reached the upper echelon where you really don’t rank the players. They are just the Yankee immortals: Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, Berra, Jeter, Rivera. Those seven are clearly the top tier: each holding amazing records, each winning multiple world championships, each a Yankee legend, each playing all or most of his career as a Yankee, each one of the best ever at his position.

All the other Yankee greats — Roger Maris, Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson, Don Mattingly, Ron Guidry, Thurman Munson, Lefty Gomez and so on — start a rung below those seven.

And it’s pointless trying to rank those top seven: How do you rank DiMaggio’s hitting streak or Mantle’s World Series homers or Gehrig’s consecutive-game streak behind anyone? But Babe has to be first, doesn’t he? And you can’t compare Rivera’s late-inning dominance with all these hitters. And no one won more World Series than Berra, whose masterful handling of the pitching staff again defies comparison. No, it’s a seven-way tie for first place as the greatest Yankee ever. No one gets dethroned at the top of this list, they just make room for another legend.

If you want to figure where Jeter ranks all-time, consider his standing among all the great shortstops of baseball history. More specifically, is he the greatest shortshop ever? Now, that’s a debate worth having, especially the day that he topped 3,000 hits with an amazing 5-for-5 day. Read the rest of this entry »

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