The question arises, with just a few games remaining in Jeter's amazing career, is there a need to have another Yankee captain and will we see one anytime soon? Before Jeter was named captain in 2003, the previous captain had been the very popular Don Mattingly, and he served until 1995 before he had to unfortunately retire. Is there anyone on the current roster that would even have a chance to be named the team's captain? A lot of people will probably have the name Brett Gardner first cross their mind when thinking of a potential captain. Gardner is homegrown, gritty, doesn't complain, tells it how it is, and plays hard everyday. He has even shown a feisty side to him, barking at umpires when he doesn't agree with a call. Gardner reminds me of a "lite" version of Paul O'Neil.
But if not Gardner, would someone that isn't homegrown suffice? Perhaps a Brian McCann type, or a Jacoby Ellsbury? Would Yankee fans allow someone who has had a Boston Red Sox uniform on his back be captain? They certainly allowed Babe Ruth when he was captain for six days in the 1922 season until he was amusingly stripped of his captaincy. The captain doesn't need to be a very vocal leader, as Jeter has always been the low-key, follow by example type captain, and he has done it perfectly. Jeter also never asked for nor did he need the obnoxious "C" sewed into his uniform so everyone could know he was the captain. (Looking at you, Jason Varitek.) Jeter showed he was captain by how he went about his business on and off the field. Are there any players like that on the current squad?
Of course, it is pretty much guaranteed that the Yankees won't be naming a captain for quite some time, and I highly doubt they are even interested in looking for one. Who wants to follow Jeter anyway? Maybe the Yankees captain isn't even on the roster yet, and he is still somewhere in the minor league system. Or maybe the Yankees have yet to sign their next captain, and he will be hitting the free agent market soon.
Mike Trout and Andrew McCutchen are clear cut captains for their teams and maybe even for the entire sport. That is what Jeter was--not only the face of the Yankees, but the entire sport as well. This will be an extremely difficult position to fill, but does it even have to be filled? Does this team need a captain? Or will it be better served with a small group of guys that the rest of the team follows and imitates, a similar situation that occurred in that fantastic run of the '90s. In the '90s, the Core Four, along with Bernie Williams (who should also be mentioned with the Core Four), Paul O'Neill, and Tino Martinez, were leaders on the team, None of these men were named captain, until Jeter was eventually given the position.
Perhaps that situation might work better, but again, perhaps the team does not even need a captain. There isn't a rule that states you have to officially name a captain for your team, but it is always better to have a leader or leaders on the team.
Who do you think will be the next Yankee captain? Does this team need a captain?