The Overrated Derek Jeter Should Be A Unanimous Hall of Fame Selection
This year, Derek Jeter is finally Hall of Fame eligible, and after spending two decades referring to him as a future Hall of Famer, he will be one in short order. Really, when looking at him, the only question is whether he will join Mariano Rivera as the only players to be unanimous selected.
By any measure Jeter is a Hall of Famer. He clears the (once) automatic 3,000 hits threshold. In fact, his 3,465 hits are the sixth most all-time and the most at his position. He has five World Series rings with a World Series MVP to his resume. In addition to that, he has a Rookie of the Year, five Silver Sluggers, and five Gold Gloves. Additionally, he is a 14 time All-Star with an All-Star Game MVP.
Throw in his iconic plays like nailing Jeremy Giambi at the plate, robbing Trot Nixon of a base hit (needlessly running into the stands), and his homer off of Byung-Hyun Kim, and you have someone who is iconic enough to be a Hall of Famer.
When you dig deeper, you see a player whose 72.4 WAR and 57.4 JAWS are better than the 67.0 WAR and 55.0 JAWS an average Hall of Fame shortstop has accumulated. Really, when you dig down, we all know Jeter is a Hall of Famer, and each and every voter should give him a vote. For those who don’t vote for him, you really have to question whose career they watched, what exactly they are looking at in their analysis, and finally, their integrity.
So yes, Jeter is absolutely a Hall of Famer who deserves everyone’s vote. However, that does not for one second mean he wasn’t completely overrated.
For starters, by WAR, Jeter was only slightly better than Alan Trammell and Barry Larkin. For some reason, Trammel had to wait until the Veteran’s Committee (or whatever it’s called now), and Larkin had to wait until the third ballot.
While Jeter has the WAR and JAWS to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, he doesn’t have the WAR7. His 42.4 falls short of the 43.0 average. On that note, Nomar Garciaparra‘s 43.1 cleared the hurdle, and he was five percented in his only year on the ballot.
When looking at Jeter and Garciaparra, they along with Alex Rodriguez were part of what was dubbed as the Holy Trinity of Shortstops. To a certain extent, they’d be soon joined by Miguel Tejada. During this era, Jeter was looked upon as the best of the group. Of course, with A-Rod, this was never true.
Speaking of things that were never true, as noted above, Jeter won five separate Gold Gloves. Honestly, he deserved none of them.
In a stretch from 2004 – 2006, he won three straight. Over that time, he had a combined -56 DRS. Not only was he not the best shortstop, but over that time frame, he was the second worst defensive shortstop in the American League. Despite that, he won the awards and two others over more deserving candidates like Omar Vizquel, Juan Uribe, Bobby Crosby, and Elvis Andrus.
In fact, when you look at it, since they started tracking DRS in 2002, Jeter’s -152 DRS makes him the worst defensive shortstop of all-time. To be fair, this does not include his younger years when he was likely better, and it overlooks shortstops of previous eras who were not adjudged by advanced stats.
To be fair, he deserved his Silver Sluggers, and you could make the argument he merited one or two more. Again, the point here is Jeter was great, but not as great as he was and continues to be made out to be.
Ultimately, Jeter is talked about one of the 2-5 best shortstops of all-time. It’s difficult to make that case when he ranks “just” 10th all-time in WAR at the position. Looking at it deeper, he is far behind Honus Wagner and Cal Ripken Jr. He’s also behind lesser known Hall of Famers like George Davis and Arky Vaughan. In fact, he’s behind Bill Dahlen, who to this date, hasn’t been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
In the end, with Jeter, we see a great player. Soon, we may see someone who is going to be unanimously inducted into the Hall of Fame. Looking at his career, Jeter should become the first position player to receive that honor. When and if that happens, make no mistake. Jeter is an all-time great player who was a terrible defender and who is just simply overrated.