FanPost

Jeter vs Joe D

To be clear, I have really been enjoying the Yankee top 100 list and have been anxious to finish so we as fans could start some extra discussion. Anyone we thought was overrated/underrated? A closer look at the individual positions and the players ranked there, maybe some more discussion about how to value pitchers vs positions players, etc.

But after Jeter took the #4 spot, it seems like many comments in Jeter (and Joe D's write-up the day before) are really taking aim at the writers and pinstripe for making a bad decision. I am curious how the rankings were determined (or how the votes were weighted) but I just find this discussion interesting and am not outraged the way some others are. However the more I think about it, the harder I do find it to justify Derek over Joe D. I have a few arguments. I don't think any one is particularly good so I'm hoping others will add on and maybe we can figure this out together.

So by pretty much all conventional comparisons Joe D is coming ahead on Jeter. Team success, well Jeter and company won 5 titles but Joe and his pack won 9. Joe had 3 MVPs, Jeter has zero (though definitely deserved at least one). Joe had 79 bWAR compared to Jeter's 73. Joe has a career .977 ops and 155 ops+ compared to Derek and his .817 and 115. While Jeter may have played the more important position defensively, it's close as center is also important and Joe was thought of as an excellent center fielder while being charitable Jeter was adequate at short. Maybe you want to point out Jeter has one more all star appearance but that's pretty easily shot down as he played far more years and Joe missed 3 prime years in the service and Jeter's edge in stolen bases, hits and runs seems insignificant compared to Joe's lead in pretty much everything else.

So it seems fairly open and shut right? Well maybe not. Here are a few points to consider. Number 1 is the era. I'll explain this more in a later fan post but I always give the benefit to more recent players in any close contest. I was watching a video about baseball in I believe it was the 20s and they were discussing the average pitcher threw between 75 and 80 mph as just one major difference (just to note, I could throw 80 when I was in my 20s and I don't consider myself anything other than an adequate batting practice pitcher). We can also note that Joe only had a few years after integration so he wasn't playing against the very best competition.

But is that enough to give Jeter the edge? I don't think they're quite close enough for me to boost Jeter just based on that. But let's also consider era again and how it combines with team success. The Yanks were an absolute powerhouse and others have commented on how they just had such a monopoly on the best talent and how the draft was instituted almost to break some of these best players away from the Yankees. So while I think Jeter had some good teammates in Bernie, Mo, Andy, Paulie (and later Sexy Texy, Arod, CC and others), I think the quality of teammates edge is likely going to Joe who started his career next to guys like Lou Gehrig and Bill Dickey and had guys like Scooter and Joe Gordon win MVPs while playing next to Joe. They also didn't have to go through any playoff series to reach the World Series so maybe we can argue Jeter's 5 World Series titles is actually more impressive than Joe's 9 (a bit similar to how NBA folks give more kudos to Jordan for his 6 than to Bill Russell for his 11).

If we look at the postseason a bit more, I think we can also find another edge for Jeter. Joe was pretty unimpressive in the World Series only having a .271/.338/.422 slash line in 51 games. Compared to Jeter who was almost identically good in the playoffs compared to the regular season (.308/.374/.465) in 158 games. I do think it's safe to say Jeter outplayed him in the playoffs.

So that's what I got. I can't convince myself that it's enough to put Jeter over Joe but it's closer than when I first started. Anything else we should add to this? Any other points? I'm certainly willing to entertain points that would be in Joe's favor. Thank you for reading and I look forward to a lot more discussion on our all time favorite and best Yankees.

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