Updated January, 2005
Updated again, Nov 3, 2006
Updated again, December, 2009
Updated again, December 2010
Derek Jeter won his
Gold Glove for the 20056910 season.
It's about time.
Finally, Derek Jeter is justly rewarded for being one of the best
defensive shortstops in the game, awarded with the 2004 Gold Glove for
American League shortstops.
spectacular range and head's up play, has been one of the best defensive shortstops in
the game for several years now. His signature move deep into the
thirdbase-shortstop hole to snare a grounder and then the Jordanesque
leap in the air and rifle throw to first base to get the runner has
been showcased in World Series and pennant playoff games. The leap is
Jordanesque; the leap with the powerful off-balance mid-air throw is
But what he does better than any
ballplayer I've ever seen in the 41 years that I've been watching
baseball is going deep into the outfield, back to the plate, to catch
pop flies -- maybe the most difficult play for an infielder to do. In
fact, when Jeter came up to the Yankees as a rookie in 1993, it was
his spectacular forays into shallow outfield that first made Yankee
fans stand up and take notice.
And then there are the highlight-reel plays -- "the catch" against the Red
Sox during the 2004 season, where he saved the game in extra innings with
a back-to-the-plate, full-speed catch of a shallow fly ball, and then
crashing into the stands. Or "the relay", when he came out of nowhere
against the Oakland A's in the 2001 pennant playoffs to snare that errant
throw to the plate, and backhanded it to Posada for the out to preserve
the 1-0 lead. Or there was "the perfect relay" against the Mets in the
2000 World Series, when he fired a bullet to home from deep outfield to
nail the runner and turn the game and series to the Yankees' advantage.
And on and on it goes. The only detraction
to Jeter's defense in previous years was the occasional bobble that
every infielder experiences. Never that many, since Jeter's total
errors for each year have generally been in the teens; a good number
for a shortstop. But in 2004, the occasional bobbles were kept to a
minimum as Jeter made only 13 errors. Jeter has had other years just
as good -- 1998 for instance when he only made 9 errors for a higher
fielding percentage (.986); but that was during the Omar Vizquel era,
as Omar was winning nine straight Gold Gloves.
Jeter's defense is just part of his
overall A-1 game. Add to it a high batting average, ability to get on base, hit
line drives all over the park with power, head's up baserunning,
ability to score
runs, and to take the field with an air of confidence and
enthusiasm that sets him apart from the Alex Rodriquez's and Nomar
Garciapara's and Miquel Tejada's of the world. Jeter is one of the most fun-to-watch
baseball players to play the game.
AL Gold Glove Shortstops
During Jeter's Prime
The Egg in ESPN's Face
Wasn't too long ago that ESPN's Page 2 was nominating Jeter as the most overrated baseball player in
its juvenile on-line contests. That was back in June of 2003 when Jeter
was coming off a separated shoulder that kept him out of the first two
months of the season. Jeter was batting .250 at the time, and ESPN was
all over him like a pack of hyaenas onto a wounded gazelle. Jeter went on to
almost win the batting title that season, and follow up with a
terrific year in 2004 both offensively and defensively. No word on
whether ESPN will be holding a "most vapid and arrogant sports journalist"
contest anytime soon, but we suspect they've got a few on staff they
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