Lots of places to hear this, but I really like Sports on Earth’s wrap-up. A while ago, I wrote that Derek Jeter might be the first unanimous Hall of Famer. Given that Greg Maddux wasn’t, it might seem like a stretch, but let’s not neglect the Yankees bump. People still think Don Mattingly should be in the Hall of Fame, who was pretty much Mark Grace, but played for the Yankees.
You know who turns out to be a shockingly good comp for Derek Jeter, one I didn’t even think of expecting before I looked up the WAR numbers?
I did not expect that. I’m a proven fan of Palmeiro, and have been since he still played. Yet, I honestly thought Derek Jeter was better. He will be, purely by WAR, at the end of this season (there’s only .2 WAR between them), better than Palmeiro. If we give him 2 WAR (which is on the highish side of his value, but not unreasonable), he’d be at 73.6. The same WAR as Frank Thomas.
Now, we have to remember that WAR adjusts for position. Among his peers, Jeter is probably #7. (Baseball Reference’s custom system doesn’t show the top 10, and the closest match to the 71.6 on Jeter’s player page is the guy at #7). The seventh best shortstop in the history of baseball mostly definitely should be a first ballot HOFer. It’s even more remarkable that most of that is with his bat. (He has negative dWAR over his career). On any sane planet, he would have been moved from SS a long time ago.
We’ll get a bunch of people weeping and what not. Jeter is apparently a nice guy who has dated an enviable list of the world’s most attractive women. I don’t hate Jeter, unlike most Yankees, which should be considered quite a compliment. I am, however, elated that he will retire after this year.