Is Derek Jeter the Greatest New York Athlete Ever?

September 8, 2021, The official enshrinement of the longtime New York Yankee Shortstop and Captain, Derek Jeter. Larry Walker, Ted Simmons and the late Marvin Miller, were elected alongside Jeter in 2020, and after delays and postponements due to COVID-19, they all took their rightful spots in Cooperstown. Before we dive into the question the title of this blog poses, enjoy the tribute videos for the other Hall of Famers courtesy of MLB Network:

For arguments sake, if you played before 1960, I am not counting you in this conversation, I don’t make the rules. Also, Buffalo doesn’t count (sorry Jim Kelly), we are sticking to NYC. Criteria to make this list goes as such: led a NY team to a championship or, at the very least, competed year in and year out for a majority of their tenure with said franchise, was the best player on the team or a key piece to the success of that team.

Let’s start with who could even be considered alongside Jeter on this list. In no particular order, I’ve picked out these athletes:

  • Henrik Lundqvist
    • 15 seasons with the Rangers; 459 Wins; Vezina Trophy Winner; 1x Stanley Cup Appearance; Future Hall of Famer.
  • Mike Piazza
    • 8 seasons with Mets; 12x All-Star; 10x Silver Slugger; Most Home Runs by a Catcher (427); Hall of Famer.
  • Patrick Ewing
    • 15 seasons with Knicks; 7x All-NBA, 11x All-Star, Hall of Famer; 2x Finals Appearances.
  • Eli Manning
    • 15 seasons with Giants; 4x Pro Bowl; 2x Super Bowl Champion; 37 Game-Winning Drives; Future Hall of Famer (not debatable, piss off); One lovable face.
  • Michael Strahan
    • 14 seasons with Giants; 4x All-Pro, 7x Pro Bowl; 2001 AP Defensive PoY; 1x Super Bowl Champion; All-Time Single Season Sacks Leader (22.5); Hall of Famer.
  • Tom Seaver
    • 12 seasons with Mets; 3x ERA Title; 12x All-Star; 3x Cy Young; 1x World Series Champion.
  • Walt Frazier
    • 10 seasons with Knicks; 6x All-NBA; 2x NBA Champion; Hall of Famer; Currently 1/2 of Knicks Broadcasting team.
  • Mark Messier
    • 10 seasons with Rangers; 2x Hart Trophy Winner; Stanley Cup Champion; Hall of Famer.
  • Mariano Rivera
    • 19 seasons with Yankees; All-Time Saves Leader (652); 5x World Series Champion; World Series MVP; Only player voted 100 percent in Baseball Hall of Fame.
  • Joe Namath
    • 12 seasons with Jets; 1x All-Pro; Super Bowl Champion; Hall of Famer; Lead one of greatest upsets in Super Bowl history.
  • Lawrence Taylor
    • 12 seasons with Giants; 8x All-Pro; 1986 MVP; 3x Defensive PoY; 2x Super Bowl Champion; Hall of Famer.

That’s 10 athletes that you could realistically make the argument are the best New York athletes ever. Apologies to any Islanders fans reading this blog, but you just didn’t make the cut.

I am definitely biased, but Jeter easily takes the crown in this argument. He played one of the most popular positions in all of sports for one of the most popular franchises in the world. He has never made headlines for anything other than his play on the field (albeit his dating history is exceptional), he has a fantastic nickname that everyone is familiar with, he has exceptional stats for the regular season (.310 AVG, .817 OPS, sixth all-time in hits) as well as Post Season stats (first in: games played, at-bats, plate appearances, runs, hits, singles, doubles, total bases).

All that to go along with: 14x All-Star; 5x Gold Glove; 5x Silver Slugger; Only player to win All-Star and World Series MVP in same year (2000); 5x World Series Champion.

Jeter also founded The Players Tribune in 2014, which has become a very successful website amongst all athletes across all sports.

My guy Jeets is untouchable. People try to slander him, say he was overrated, a bad defender, but they’re grasping at straws. There are certain internet personas talking about how good NOMAR GARCIAPARRA was between ’97 and ’03. Didn’t realize we were allowed to only analyze parts of players careers, if only Jeter played for an additional decade after that. People like that, who try to taint the legacy of one of the greatest players our generation, of all-time, it gets me flustered just thinking about how someone could be such a hater.

Jeter was the face of New York, of Baseball, maybe even in all of sports, for at least 15 years. He is the greatest New York athlete we have been blessed to have, and to be honest we have had many. I miss watching him play every night. Whoever didn’t vote for him should be publicly shamed, Game of Thrones style.

Long live The Captain!!!


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