Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Derek Jeter...Iron Man?

Over the weekend -- during at-bat in which he struck out against the Red Sox -- Derek Jeter passed Mickey Mantle to become the New York Yankees' all-time leader in at-bats. Here's the top 10:
1. Derek Jeter 8106
2. Mickey Mantle 8102
3. Lou Gehrig 8001
4. Bernie Williams 7869
5. Yogi Berra 7546
6. Babe Ruth 7216
7. Don Mattingly 7003
8. Joe DiMaggio 6821
9. Roy White 6650
10. Willie Randolph 6303
I'm not sure why I was surprised to learn that -- Jeter's been playing since a mid-season call up in 1995 -- but surprised I was. Since then he's been a reliable fixture at short in the Bronx, never player fewer than 148 games in an injury-free year. (In 2003 he was injured, and only played 119 games.)

He's only #4 on the Yankee's all-time PA list, because he doesn't walk anywhere near as much as the 3 guys in front of him: Mantle, Gehrig, and Ruth. Not a disgraceful bunch to be trailing, you'd have to admit.

Jeter hasn't won an MVP -- and at this point in his clearly declining career, isn't likely to -- but he did get completely hosed in 1999. That year Jeter led the universe with a 103.9 VORP, and was 4th with 8.8 WARP. In one of the stupidest results ever, Ivan Rodriguez won, with his 57.9 VORP and 8.4 WARP. Even this Sox fan can see Jeter got screwed.

It's easy to hate the Yankees -- or at least it was, before they got old and hurt; now it's just habit -- but it's not possibly to do anything except root for Jeter. I hope he plays forever, ends up owning most of the Yankee career records, and gets a good head start on his induction speech for the Hall of Fame.

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