Friday, September 26, 2014

Derek Jeter: The Athlete, The Man, The Legend

My Fellow Americans, 

Derek Jeter's illustrious career as a New York Yankee is finally coming to an end.

22 years ago, he was an upstart high school graduate out of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Now, he is the Captain. He is Mr. Clutch. He is the shining light of a generation marred by steroid abusers.

Last was the night: Jeter's last home game. Fans purchased tickets for the game at an average price of over $400. In true Jeter fashion, he made the game-winning hit with a walk-off single in the bottom of the 9th inning. Despite the celebration of his final year by JORDAN Brand, Gatorade, and Sports fans around the country, many experts are skeptic of his role as the pre-eminent baseball player of the past two decades.

Career Statistics

Derek Jeter's Rookie Baseball Card

Derek Jeter's statistics rival those of any player to ever set foot on the field. What he lacks in power numbers, he makes up for in batting average and field numbers. Over the course of his career, Jeter has hit .309 from behind the plate, with career highs of  .349 and .343 in 2000 and 2006, respectively. To put that in context, he is better than Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, Willie Mays, and Mickey Mantle in that category. His 3,463 career hits are good for 6th all-time in Major League Baseball, including a 5-hit masterpiece in 2011 that he concluded with spectacular home run for his 3,000th hit.

On the defensive side of the ball, he has been a masterful shortstop for each of his years in the Major Leagues, and is in the top 20 all-time for putouts and in-field assists at his position. His flawless mechanics and laser rocket arm helped him win 5 Golden Glove Awards as the best Shortstop in the American League.

Behind The Numbers

Being Derek Jeter means more than just being a baseball player, it means being an icon. In a league made up of predominately white and hispanic players, Jeter, a mulatto, has held the heart of the Big Apple for two decades. His "Turn 2" Foundation, a reference to a his inclination to record double plays, works to prevent alcohol and drug abuse by children and teenagers.

His off the field persona is most-widely known as that of a ladykiller, famously giving autographed "swag bags" to each of his partners. Despite having such a reputation, he is revered by men and women alike for his tremendous positive impact on the city of New York.

Mr. November

Before Jeter, there was Reggie Jackson. Jackson won 3 World Series' with the Oakland Athletics ('72-'74), 2 with the Yankees ('77,'78) and was rightfully nicknamed "Mr. October" for his accomplishments in the playoffs.

Jeter entered the fold in 1996 and won the Rookie of the Year Award as well as a World Series Title in his first full season in the majors. Now a 5-Time World Series Champion and World Series MVP, he was dubbed "Mr. November" as a (tip of the cap) to his outstanding play in the Fall Classic, including a MLB Record .351 career World Series batting average in 7 appearances. He is the longest tenured Captain for the New York Yankees, and he is widely considered one of the greatest leaders in all of sports.

"There may be people with more talent you, but there's no excuse for anyone to work harder than you - and I believe that." - Derek Jeter

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