Derek Jeter

1 minute read
Sean Gregory

Derek Jeter is a mediocre baseball player right now. Going into this month’s All-Star Game, which he declined to play in, the New York Yankees shortstop was hitting .270, with just three home runs and 24 runs batted in. In December, when the Yankees gave Jeter, now 37, a three-year, $51 million contract, the decision was based on emotional attachment to a Yankees icon, not on any rational evaluation of his current capabilities.

But Jeter drives the debate about intangibles in sports. What he lacks in statistical performance, say his defenders, he makes up for in leadership. It’s no accident that his Yankees have won five World Series. Yet his detractors chant, Overrated!

Jeter’s flair, however, is indisputable. Whether he’s hitting a home run to win an emotional World Series game after 9/11 or diving into the stands to snare a foul ball, the guy has a knack for drama. So it was only fitting that on July 9, when the Yankee captain knocked out his 3,000th hit–a milestone only 27 other big leaguers have reached–it was a home run. Jeter may fall short of baseball’s all-time greats. But No. 3,000 clinches his own greatness.

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