The psychology of being number 2
Even from your earliest childhood, the seemingly universal mistreatment of the number two has been ingrained into your psyche, being synonymous with the dreaded "doo-doo". In grade school, you learned (if you paid attention) that corundum (aluminum oxide) was number two on the hardness scale, being associated with sapphires and rubies, but number one (carbon in diamond form) was so far harder as to exceed number two by a factor of four!
In genealogy, aside from systematically excluding women as often as possible, all royal rank and privilege went to number one sons, and his heirs in like manner. Number two (as long as number one had heirs) got treated like #2 (doo-doo).
Enough lead in -
We have on our team the greatest number two in Yankee history, and you can bet the mortgage that it will be retired quite soon after Derek Jeter retires.
But even he has been treated (by many Press) as the non-inheriting royal, despite his litany of accomplishments.
When Derek came up in 1995 for the ersatz "cup of coffee", local writers warned not to expect too much defensively from this kid. He was too skinny to make any real power contributions, but he might hold the position just long enough until Yankees could buy a key free agent.
But then Tony Fernandez got hurt and thrust this kid right into the mix. Let the record show that Derek homered in his first game of 1996 in Cleveland (no cheapie) and got three hits in his second game - no deer in the headlights here!
His 17 game hitting streak in September was "poo-poo-ed" as being against call-ups. NONSENSE. The Yankees were in a pennant fight and this rookie of the year was an integral part of that!
His career is an open book (upon which I may touch in future articles). But if you're on this website, you probably know most of Derek's stats anyway.
Then the Press always tried to find other shortstops whose jocks Derek Jeter couldn't carry.
1996 - Omar Vizquel, who was in the midst of 9 consecutive GGs, en route to a career of 11 GGs; and he had just batted .297, his career high to that point. I respect Omar and I believe he might be the greatest FIELDING shortstop of all time (Ozzie was flashier)! And future HoF Barry Larkin - if you compare his lifetime stats to Derek's, you'll KNOW that Derek is a first ballot HoF player!
1997 - Rookie of the year - Nomar! (Hehe, no more!)
Shoot, the list is endless, from these three boys to names like A-Rod, Miguel Tejada (to get the test positives out of the way), Jimmy Rollins, Edgar Renteria, Adrian Beltre, Michael Young, Jose Reyes, Troy Tulowitzki, Hanley Ramirez.
How could the Yankees lose (1939) someone as great as Lou Gehrig and STILL win the World Series in four games? (Hint: Joe DiMaggio, whose teams were 10-1 in World Series).
And Derek Jeter is the greatest possessor of intangibles to wear pinstripes, since him.
From "the catch" to "the relay" to countless ninth inning clutch hits and homers to milestone chases that would (and did) reduce greats to nail biting, drinking, losing hair, and a host of other stumbling blocks, Derek has displayed an equanimity unlike anyone you have ever seen - and somehow, it DOES translate to wins, even if there is no formula for it!
The slow bounder toward short that just gets past the pitcher is almost a guaranteed hit for anyone with speed ... unless Jeter is fielding it. (He knows that you cannot set and throw, but must throw as quickly as possible, and on the run, and he does it time after time. (Intangible) It's like his jump throws from the hole - by getting rid of the ball accurately and quickly, the half second he saves is worth its weight in gold!
Off the field, Derek's life is his, none of anyone's business ... except scandal mongers! Dregs of society disguised as media (tv, radio, print) have attempted to make something out of nothing where Derek's private life are concerned. And they've come up empty of scandal.
Now, along with his other Hall of Famer to be buddy, Mariano, Derek has suffered one more setback that many believe will end his career, effectively.
They forget that Father Time is also calling most shots, so Derek has an arduous journey for 2013.
But no matter what happens down the road, THIS number two will always be Number ONE to me!