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Derek Jeter. The Perfect Baseball Career.

What hasn’t been written about Derek Jeter? Seriously. What’s left to say?
Actually, plenty.

We can now, for example, officially say, Class of 2020 Baseball Hall of Famer. And I will continue to yell at anti-Jeter idiots, anti-Yankee fans and other baseball dummies who think he is overrated. Sure thing, overrated. Only five more players in history have more hits. He’s the only player still to win an MVP in the All-Star Game and World Series in the same season. Five rings. The Flip and Dive and Mr. November and you know the rest. Who is the Yankees’ all-time leader in hits, games played, doubles, stolen bases, times on base, plate appearances and at-bats? Derek Jeter. This is a franchise with names
like Ruth, DiMaggio, Mantle, Berra and Gehrig. Yet Jeter tops those lists. Unbelievable. Perfect.

October? Ah yes, October. Derek Jeter collected moment after moment and 20 home runs and 61 RBI and 200 hits on the nose. Five rings. Seven AL flags. Face of baseball. Face of the playoffs. Face of the Yankees. Everyone got to know Derek Jeter. Jeter hit .308 in the playoffs and .310 in the regular season. Think about that. Basically the same average in the postseason where the teams and starting pitching and everything else is simply better. You face better bullpens and ace after ace. Round after round. Jeter was the same player. Perfect.

Off the field, forget about it. Jeter had his fun, dated his smoke shows and all the rest. But, he never got in trouble. He stayed away from PED’s. He followed his parents’ advice. He worked hard, handled the media and stayed out of bad areas and spots in the biggest city of them all while having an amazing career. How did he act off the field, a shortstop for the most famous franchise ever as the face of the New York City sports scene? Just about…perfect.

Maybe the real thing that hasn’t been written by people my age or a little older or a little younger is that Jeter is MY DiMaggio, MY Ruth, MY Mantle, MY Gehrig, MY Berra. When I was a kid, Don Mattingly was my guy. Amazing career and player and person. But we know the elite names in Yankee history. Elite of the elite of the elite. Mattingly is simply not one. It’s just a fact, no disrespect to my 1A favorite player of all-time (#2 is of course #1). I heard stories after stories while interviewing Clete Boyer and Whitey Ford and Bobby Richardson and others about just how iconic those five legends of the past were. I heard stories from my grandma and my Dad about Joe D and Mantle. Never could I have imagined that I could have one of those players, someone who I could compare to Babe Ruth? Absurd. Someone who was a face of a generation and a rock star in America like Mickey Mantle? No way. Yet here we are. Perfect.

Thank you, Derek Jeter, for being a class act and great player and role model. Thank you for the thrills and October moments and for representing the game and the Yankees and everything perfectly. Baseball is so much better because of you. #2 night in and night out in pinstripes was just perfect.

And now, you enter a perfect place for you, the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Mike Lindsley
Follow Mike Lindsley on Twitter @MikeLSports and download his podcast the “ML Sports Platter” on Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Spotify.