No Need to Argue
“Congratulations to Derek Jeter,” a social networking acquaintance of mine said Saturday, not entirely unreasonably, before veering off into the land of nonsensical statements. “Agruably the greatest all-around shortstop of all time.”
Crucial qualifier there, “arguably.” It would seem to apply that after a considered, rational discussion one might suggest that Derek Jeter was the greatest shortstop ever and not be dismissed as anything other than a myopic Yankee honk.
Off the top of my head, here’s a list of folks who might queue up to argue the point that Jeter had the better career: H. Wagner, C. Ripken, A. Vaughan, L. Appling, A. Trammell, B. Larkin, O. Smith, and L. Aparicio. Mr. Robin Yount of the Milwaukee Younts would like to remind you that he was a fairly decent MVP Award-winning shortstop between 1974 and 1984, and Mr. Ernie Banks might point out that he won consecutive MVP awards while playing shortstop in 1958 and 1959. There’s another fellow, Alex Rod-something or other, who hit more than 50 percent of his 626 career home runs while playing shortstop and only moved to third base after one of his teammates — I forget who — declined to change positions and deprive fans the chance to see ground balls squirt harmlessly into left field.
It’s sort of hard to make the case that Derek Jeter is the greatest shortstop of all time when he’s not even the greatest shortstop currently on the Yankees roster.
(Rob Neyer, who’s less of a jerk about these things than me, puts Jeter third all time. So save your cards and letters.)
[Photo of the greatest all-around shortstop of all-time courtesy of Neal B. Johnson.]