In honor of Lady Bee’s love of Jeter (and the fact that she could be witnessing history in person), I’ll be filling in for her today with a topic that is somewhat troubling me and pretty much any other baseball fan that’s been following the Yankees’ most hits record list. As of Wednesday night against Tampa, Derek Jeter has tied the record for the most hits from a Yankee, passing greats Mickey Mantle and Babe, and is now at 2,721 which was Lou Gehrig’s record up until possibly tonight. But how should classic Yankee and Gehrig fans feel about this?
Now, I promise I’m not saying that Derek Jeter isn’t great – for my regular followers you know that I grew up as a huge Yankee fan, and I definitely still have serious respect for the players that were there when I loved them, like Jeter. Perhaps defensively he’s, well…not as good. But he is obviously a great hitter, and all around he’s been a great member of the team. On the other hand, commenter Big D directed my attention to something that was said on Sportscenter, and to be honest it was a little troubling. Jeter has been called a classy guy since pretty much forever, and some outlets even credit ‘the classy image of the team being upheld by Jeter’, and I guess I can’t argue with that – he is pretty classy. But I’m going to have to draw the line at comparing his level of class in this era to the class of someone like Lou Gehrig (which is what Sportscenter was getting at it seemed).
Lou was an amazing player. He had held the record for most hits in the franchise and is one of the most beloved players in history – not just by Yankee fans but by baseball fans. He gave what is known as one of the greatest sports speeches (if not on the list as one of the greatest speeches of all time) as his deteriorating health (with a disease eventually named for him) led him towards a heartbreaking and incredibly untimely death. He is the poster image of class in pinstripes, and is arguably the only one deserving of that title, ever. While Jeter is classy, I’m sorry, but I cannot bring him up to that level, Yanks fan or not. So congratulations to Jeter, and while I know he does deserve it because he has worked hard, I don’t think he deserves quite so much comparison to the great man he is passing. Obviously records will be broken, but let’s chill with any comparing past that four digit number. At least Lou still has the record for career grand slams (23), and considering how many years he’s had it, that is Epic with a capital E.
So this week rather than doing my usual update or continuing to complain, I’ll leave it to my readers. How do you feel about Jeter’s breaking of this record and all of the press around it, Yankee fan or not?