Lou Gehrig was a couple months shy of his 36th birthday when he finished his final game in April of 1939.
Derek Jeter, for all his flaws, is a lapidary hitter.
I think the quality of the game is much higher today (Jeter wouldn't have been allowed to play in Gehrig's day), so my bias goes to modern baseball. But then again, if not for that Ruth fellow, Gehrig would be remembered as the greatest hitter of his era, in the argument for all time.
Some of my favorite Gehrig facts:
- batted .340 career
- slugged .600+ 9 times and .700+ 3 times
- walked nearly twice as often as he struck out; in an era when walks weren't always appreciated Gehrig racked up 100+ walks in 11 of his 14 seasons as a regular
- his 493 homers were second all time when he retired, but he racked up 534 doubles and 163 triples. If you saw Lou Gehrig get a hit, you were nearly as likely to see an extra base hit as a single.
If you had the choice, would you rather witness Gehrig's entire career or Jeter's?