What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions

Is Derek Jeter The Greatest Yankee Ever?

Apologies in advance for the “Mothership“- style lead, but this question came up in a conversation and I really  think it has some probative value.

At first it sounds ridiculous, but if you stop to think about it, no matter what you think of Derek Jeter and the Yankees, there’s really no question that the current Yankee captain is headed for the Hall of Fame and the Yankee’s Monument Park.  Having said that, it seems logical to wonder where does Jeter rank amongst those Yankees of yore?

First of all, this is about everyday players, not pitchers.  Let ESPN try to convince you that Andy Pettitte is the greatest Yankee pitcher ever because he won the most post-season  games.

Secondly, this list only considers players who spent at minimum something at least close to half their careers in pinstripes.  That’s why there’s no Reggie Jackson on this list. To make the list of ten finalists, both myself and Dick Marple, the Chairman of the Dubsism Advisory Board compiled a list of who we thought could be considered as the greatest Yankees ever.

Third, and most importantly, don’t forget that both J-Dub and Marple are avowed haters of all things Yanqui. But the question has been asked on several other outlets, and so we felt it necessary to settle it.

Marple’s List:

  1. Babe Ruth
  2. Lou Gehrig
  3. Mickey Mantle
  4. Joe DiMaggio
  5. Yogi Berra
  6. Derek Jeter *
  7. Robinson Cano**
  8. Bill Dickey
  9. Don Mattingly
  10. Tie – Earle Combs, Tommy Henrich, Bob Meusel, Tony Lazzeri, Phil Rizzuto

* Shoot me now. I really do want to see him die on the field after being struck by lightning.

** Could end up as high as 6 or even 5-if he stays healthy, stays in NY and doesn’t turn into a total asshole.

*** Can’t vote for anyone who became a Y because of their economic advantage over other teams who discovered talent. Therefore no A-Rod, Dave Winfield, or Reggie Jackson.

****Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but I liked Bernie Williams as a player and fantasy league guy, but I just don’t think he was a big impact player.

Editor’s note: It should be noted that less than 48 hours after we posed this question to Mr. Marple, Jeter shattered his ankle.

J-Dub’s List:

  1. Babe Ruth
  2. Lou Gehrig
  3. Mickey Mantle
  4. Derek Jeter
  5. Joe DiMaggio
  6. Tie -Alex Rodriguez, Bill Dickey
  7. Yogi Berra
  8. Dave Winfield
  9. Don Mattingly
  10. Bernie Williams

From those lists, a list of ten finalists was assembled.  Here’s the synopsis on those finalists, presented in alphabetical order:

1) Yogi Berra:

No single player in baseball history has more World Series rings than Yogi Berra.  Having played 18 seasons as a Yankee, Yogi played in 14 World Series and won 10 of them, making him the winning champion in Major League Baseball history.

Berra was a fan favorite; he was one of the most beloved players in all of New York sports history. To this day he is an icon to Yankee fans everywhere, largely because he was  one of the greatest catchers of all time.  Berra hit 358 home runs and knocked in 1,430 RBIs. He won three MVP titles, including back-to-back awards in 1954 and 1955. He also played in 15 consecutive All-Star games.

2) Joe DiMaggio:

DiMaggio is obviously one of the greatest hitters of all time; his greatest achievement being his legendary 56-game hitting streak, which is believed by many to be an unbreakable record.  A three-time MVP, DiMaggio hit .325 with 361 home runs and 1,537 RBI. Unfortunately, his  career was interrupted by WWII, his military service took three years out of his baseball career.

In 13 seasons as a Yankee, DiMaggio won nine World Series championships, and he was an All-Star in every season of his career. However,

3) Lou Gehrig:

Lou Gehrig was often over-shadowed by the monstrous numbers of Babe Ruth, but make no mistake…Gehrig was one of the all-time greats in all of baseball all on his own. Gehrig hit 493 home runs and drove in 1,995 runs while scoring 1,888 runs himself.  He had a .340 career average with 2,721 hits over his 17 seasons as a Yankee.  He won two MVP awards and played in only seven All-Star games, but you have to remember the All-Star game wasn’t around until Gehrig’s last seven seasons.

4) Derek Jeter:

Before his ankle injury the other night, Derek Jeter was considered by many to be the next player to be able to reach 4,000 hits.  Regardless of what happens regarding the rest of his career, Jeter has become as much of a Yankee icon as any other on this list.

Of all the accomplished players on this list, Jeter is the only member of the 3,000 hit club.  He was named the 11th captain of the Yankees in 2003, making him the first since Don Mattingly retired in 1995.

Jeter also holds several Yankee franchise record, including most hits and plate appearances, most games played, and stolen bases.

5) Don Mattingly:

The 1985 MVP, Mattingly played his entire career with the Yankees and was the captain of the team from 1991 through the end of his career in 1995. Unlike the other players on this list, Mattingly played in a down for the Bronx Bombers. Despite his individual success, the team did not endure the same success.  The 1980s were the only decade so far in which the Yankees did not win a World Series title.

6) Mickey Mantle:

“The Mick” was the end of a line of legendary Yankee heroes, from Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, through Joe DiMaggio, and to the end of his career.  No one was there to pick up where Mantle left off in the late ’60s and the Yankees went into a World Series drought, not winning one from 1962 till 1977.  Mantle belted 536 home runs with 1,509 RBI, while scoring 1,677 runs, and was arguable the greatest switch-hitter of all time.

7) Alex Rodriguez:

Forget about the steroid thing for a minute…of you are a regular reader of this blog, you know what I think of the whole steroid issue. Alex Rodriguez is one of the greatest players of all-time, regardless of how the writers and the other self-appointed steroid moralists care to view him. To date, he has 2,901 hits, 647 home runs and 1.950 RBIs.

8) Babe Ruth:

It’s pretty hard to argue that Babe Ruth is not the greatest player to ever wear the pinstripes. Before he became a Yankee, Ruth was a pitcher for the Red Sox who had a record of 89-46 with a 2.19 ERA.

Then the Yankees figured out he might be able to hit.  Over his 15 seasons in the Bronx, Babe Ruth hit 659 home runs, had 1,971 RBI, scored 1,959 runs, walked 1,852 times, and hit .349. That pretty much says it all.

9) Bernie Williams:

Bernie Williams played his entire 16-season career in pinstripes and was a key member to the recent dynasty years, winning four World Series titles with the Yankees.  Williams hit .297 with 287 home runs and 1,257 RBI.   He also scored 1,366 runs and had 2,336 hits.  His 449 doubles ranks third on the Yankees all-time list. He appeared in five straight All-Star games and won four Gold Gloves.

10) Dave Winfield:

At 6’6″ Winfield was a giant of a man, but he was also a true “five-tool” player athlete who never spent a day in the Minor Leagues.  While Winfield played for six major league teams in 22 seasons, the prime years of his career were spent in New York.  Like Mattingly, Winfield earned six All-Star appearances with some pretty bad Yankee teams of the 1980’s.

If you are more of a numbers guys, compare the career stats of the ten finalists.

To remove the skew for guys like Winfield and Rodriguez who didn’t play there entire careers in New York, compare what the average single-season numbers for these players are.

Note that Jeter compares favorably with DiMaggio in hits and doubles, and leads in stolen bases.

So, having considered all that, where does Derek Jeter fit in terms of all-time Yankee greats?

About J-Dub

What your view of sports would be if you had too many concussions

15 comments on “Is Derek Jeter The Greatest Yankee Ever?

  1. J-Dub
    October 16, 2012

    Reblogged this on Sports Blog Movement.


  2. Your ears must have been ringing because in an alternate universe, that being Tampa, Florida, a friend and I were having a similar conversation.

    When he asked me the same question, I immediately blurted out Ruth and Gehrig as one and two. I guess you’d have to put Mick and Mr. Coffee up there was well because of their cultural impact as well as their numbers, but Jeter’s got them neck and neck in both those categories, doesn’t he?

    By the way, great credit paid to Yogi who people tend to forget about even though he was the one calling the shots back there.

    Okay, I’ve spent enough time talking about the Yankees now. I need to go shower off.


    • J-Dub
      October 16, 2012

      Yogi Berra is always the forgotten guy when lists like this get made. As far as numbers go, Jeter never comes close to the power numbers of Ruth and Gehrig obviously, but there’s really no denying he belongs high on the list.


  3. Jsportsfan
    October 16, 2012

    My top five. 1. Babe Ruth. 2. Joe DiMaggio 3. Lou Gehrig 4. Mickey Mantle 5. Mariano Rivera. Yes, Rivera. He had a huge impact on the Yankees.


    • J-Dub
      October 16, 2012

      I kept pitchers as a separate conversation. To that end, I would be hard pressed to put Mariano Rivera in front of Whitey Ford.


  4. aero
    October 17, 2012

    1. Babe Ruth. 2. Joe DiMaggio 3. Mickey Mantle 4. Derek Jeter 5. Lou Gehrig 6. Yogi Berra 7. Don Mattingly 8. Roger Maris (for a short time I know) 9. Alex Rodriguez 10. A-rod’s cousin


  5. Matt Lawton, Hero to the AAC
    October 18, 2012


    Player #1 588 K 444 BB .307/.358/ 471 .830 OPS 127 OPS+ 1 MVP award 0 World Series Worst OPS+ as a Yankee 81(!), 97, and 103,

    Player #2 652 K 733 BB .260/.345/.476 .822 OPS 127 OPS+ 2 MVP awards 2 World Series Championships Worst OPS+ Seasons as a Yankee 102, 126 and 127

    Do you give more weight to long, steady production with some clunkers or huge seasons mixed in with some average ones? Weight to MVP or WS Champ awards? K to BB Ratio? Not turning in 400+ PA’s worth of 81 and 97 OPS+ seasons?

    To put the 81 OPS+ season into context, the immortal Cristian Guzman put up 5800 PA over his career at a rate of 80 OPS+. To frame the 97 OPS+ season, the illustrious Jacque Jones put up 5000 PA at a rate of 98 OPS+

    Matt Lawton’s worst 3 OPS+ seasons with at least 400 PA: 80, 99 and 104. Player #1’s worst 400+ PA seasons are worse than Matt Lawtons worst 400+ PA seasons? And he is a top ten Yankee of all time? Really?

    Player #1 obviously is “Donnie Baseball”

    Obviously I am arguing for Player #2, Roger Maris. Frankly, I’m a bit surprised at the Dubsism Advisory Board on this one…


    • J-Dub
      October 18, 2012

      I know this is just a set-up to get Rick Cerone on the list.


  6. Matt Lawton, Hero to the AAC
    October 18, 2012

    Not even close.


    • J-Dub
      October 18, 2012

      So, it’s Paul O’Neill then?


  7. Matt Lawton, Hero to the AAC
    October 18, 2012

    The real OG


    • J-Dub
      October 18, 2012

      Olandis Gary was a Yankee? I did not know that…


  8. Matt Lawton, Hero to the AAC
    October 18, 2012

    Why is the picture not showing up! Grrrr…

    Oscar Gamble and his ‘Frolicious haircut


  9. Pingback: Is Derek Jeter The Greatest Yankee Ever? REDUX | Dubsism

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This entry was posted on October 16, 2012 by in Baseball, Sports and tagged , , , .

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