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The Daily Yam: This Screencap Is Perfect; Or, Why Derek Jeter Will Go Down As The Greatest Yankee Ever

Welcome to The Daily Yam, bringing you Yesterday’s Awesome Moment and what to look forward to today. Yesterday, Derek Jeter returned to the diamond — again — and hit a home run on the very first pitch he saw. Then we were treated to the scene above, and struck by the fact that we may have just witnessed the greatest Yankee ever embarking on his last stand.

Your Daily Yam.

Derek Jeter already returned to the Yankees lineup once this year, and it went pretty well. But his second season debut after pulling a hammy was just awesome. He swung at the first pitch he saw and hit it over the right-center field wall, a solo shot that proved to be the difference in a 6-5 win over the AL East-leading Rays. He was nearly overshadowed by new-old Yankee Alfonso Soriano, but not quite (via MLB.com):

Back in the dugout, we caught the beautiful moment seen above — Jeter glancing at the camera, on the cusp of a smile, while the batboy behind him stands in for pretty much every baseball fan there is. Even if you hate the Yankees, you have to appreciate Derek Jeter, who unlike his similarly exorbitantly paid teammates continues to come through time and again in the clutch.

And you know what? This is probably the recency effect talking, but in that moment I realized I was looking at the greatest Yankee ever. Yes, Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio and Lou Gehrig stand monstrously tall in Yankees lore, but putting numbers aside for a moment: We never had the kind of access to those guys as we do to Jeter. Sure, there are videos and photos and interviews from the old Yankee greats, but in this Internet age we have followed Derek Jeter’s every move, from slight weight gains to Pittstown suppers, and yet he handles the attention the same way he does a hanging curveball. He grew up and became great in an era defined by historic feats that would later be undercut by PED admissions. Through it all, he remained the Yankees’ most consistent and often most productive player. He’s been the face of the franchise while other false prophets, seeking false profits, aspired to take the throne.

Baseball historians will be able to look back and recall moments like this — moments when the Yankees were struggling, and the Captain buoyed them with his skill and his will, and brought joy to the faces of the youth, faces which recently have been frowning with distaste for players like Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun. They’ll also be able to calculate the tangibles as well, and those stack up quick nicely: to this point, Jeter is first all-time in games played for the Yankees, third in runs, first in hits, ninth in homers, seventh in RBI, first in stolen bases, sixth in batting average, first in being a horndog and number one in our hearts.

Derek Jeter isn’t considered the greatest Yankee ever by most pundits… yet. Let’s meet back here in 50 years to see how this panned out.

What’s On Tap Today?

Rays-Red Sox at 6:10 p.m. ET; Cardinals-Pirates at 7:10 p.m. ET.

It’s Monday. Bring a towel.

Screencap by the incomparable CJ Fogler.

  • miller


  • Jeter Christ

    Go home, Eric, you’re drunk. Jeter hasn’t even been the best player on the team he’s been on. Most famous, by far. ARod and Cano have been better players for most of the time they’ve been with the Yankees. Gehrig is the consummate Yankee, huge stats and great person, overshadowed by the Babe. DiMaggio, Mantle, and Berra are also much better players. Mariano Rivera is much classier than Jeter, a serial bimbo-boner who should be a spokesman for Valtrex. This article says it all: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/656875-derek-jeter-a-legend-or-overrated

  • Eric Goldschein

    A-Rod is a cheater; Cano is too young to say he’s an all-time great; define “better players” when DJ ranks up there statistically with the best of ‘em; “classiness” does not a good baseball player make — see Rose, Pete for more information.

  • Jeter Christ

    While you work on finding all-time rankings for “Intangibles”, I’ll use Baseball-Reference.com for something we can actually use to compare players: Career WAR (Wins Above Replacement)

    Derek Jeter has compiled 72.5 career WAR in his 19 seasons, certainly Hall-worthy

    For comparison,

    Yogi Berra 59.3 in 19 seasons (10 World Series rings, twice as many as Jeter). We’ll give Jeter this one.

    Joe DiMaggio 78.3 in 13 seasons.
    Mickey Mantle 109.7 in 18 seasons
    Lou Gehrig 112.5 in 19 seasons
    Babe Ruth 163.2 in 22 seasons

    Using JAWS, Jeter ranks as the 12th best SS of all-time. Pretty heady stuff, but not the Greatest of All Time. Give me Babe Ruth, who was an outstanding pitcher as well.

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