Congrats to Derek Jeter on his 3 thousand hits. The Yankees shortstop got the milestone hit in style with a home run--his first this season in Yankee Stadium--to leftfield. Earlier last week Yanks broadcaster Michael Kaye called Jeter the 2nd greatest shortstop in history behind Honus Wagner. This is something that I would expect from one of the mouth pieces for the Yankees...but Kaye is off base.
Don't get me wrong I think Jeter is a Hall of Famer on the first ballot. The 3000 hits guarantees it. But 2nd best in history. I would contend that Jeter is maybe 3rd or 4th on the list.
Here are some of the numbers. Jeter has a career 313 average with 237 homers and 1159 RBI's as well as 481 doubles in his career. He does have 5 gold gloves but frankly he has never been a great fielding shortstop, He has no MVP awards but was Rookie of the Year in '96 and is a 12 time All Star. Here are the guys who had better careers then Jeter...Cal Ripken, Ernie Banks and Ozzie Smith.
Lets look at their numbers Ripken has 3184 hits with a 262 career average. Cal has over 200 homers and over 500 more RBI's and 120 more doubles then the Yankee Captain. Ripken was also a Rookie of the Year but also a 2 time MVP and 19 time all star and won the Gold Glove twice. Most would agree that Cal got cheated out of a few Gold Gloves during his heyday.
The other shortstop I think was better than Jeter is former Cubs great Ernie Banks. Banks was a 2 time NL MVP, 14 time All Star. Banks had a 274 career average with almost 26 hundred hits...512 homers and 1636 RBI's.
Some would make an argument that Ozzie Smith compares with Jeter. Smith had 2460 hits and was a 15 time all star and probably the best fielding shortstop in history with 13 Gold Gloves. Smith didn't hit for the power of Jeter but was a better base stealer.
Kaye is welcome to his opinion but I think his pinstripes were blinding him to the reality.