Derek Jeter: Mr. 3,000

Posted: July 13, 2011 in MLB
Tags: , , , , , ,

Over the weekend Derek Jeter became just the 28th player in Major League Baseball history to reach 3,000 hits and the only New York Yankee to ever reach that plateau. Think of all the Yankee greats: from Babe Ruth to Mickey Mantle, from Joe DiMaggio to Reggie Jackson, and now Derek Jeter stands alone at the top.

Not only is Jeter the undisputed leader of baseball’s most storied franchise but he just may be the man who saves Major League Baseball. And right now MLB needs Jeter more than ever.

The main baseball stories of the first half of the season have been the Los Angeles Dodgers being thrown into bankruptcy, the Washington Nationals coach, Jim Riggleman, quitting after the club did not give into his demands for a contract extension, the perjury trial for Roger Clemens and the tragic death of Shannon Stone, a fan who fell out of the stands while trying to catch a souvenir ball for his son.

Baseball needed a feel good storey and they couldn’t have found a better leading man. Jeter comes off as a genuinely nice guy. There is no runaway ego like many other pro athletes. There have been no accusations of steroid use.  And by all accounts he has a pretty squeaky clean personal life.

Even Red Sox fans would begrudgingly agree that Jeter is a nice guy.

He is also one of a dying breed. Jeter is one of the few professional athletes who have played their entire career for only one team, which is almost unheard of nowadays. We live in an era where superstar athletes routinely jump from team to team for a bigger paycheck or trying desperately chasing a championship to try to validate their legacy.

One word that always comes up when describing Jeter is “classy.” He has spent his entire career in the pressure cooker that is the New York media and has never had a meltdown, never demanded a trade and never lobbied to get a manager fired. He has quietly picked up five championship rings and a mantel full of awards. And he did it all with class.

Regardless of whether you dislike the Yankees or American League-style baseball, you have to like Derek Jeter. He is living proof that sometimes Nice Guys finish first.

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