Yankees

More Than Stats, Jeter’s Intangibles Put Him In Pantheon Of Yankees Legends

Fans: His Numbers Make Him A Hall Of Famer, But No. 2 Is So Much More
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Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees hits a double in the first inning for career hit 2998 while playing against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on July 7, 2011. (credit: Michael Heiman/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — He’s on the verge of making history, but what is it, really, that makes Derek Jeter one of the all-time Yankee greats?

Is it a number like 3,000? Or is it something more?

Jeter sits just two hits away from becoming only the 28th player in major league history to reach 3,000.

CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman went to the Yogi Berra Museum on the campus of Montclair State University and then to the big ballpark in the Bronx on Friday to find out from his fans what makes Jeter so special.

“To see him do something that’s great for him individually is really cool because he’s not all about himself,” said fan Rachel Ryan, who, along with her father, Russ, marveled at the Jeter items on display.

Over at the Stadium, Dave Shein, Arthur Erberber, and their friends had been hopeful they’d get to see the Captain reach the magical milestone on Friday night, but the game against the Rays was postponed due to rain.

“He’s definitely a top 10 Yankee, by far,” Erberber said.

Guzman then took a stroll inside Monument Park, the hallowed ground within the hallowed ground. Imagining all players who have donned the pinstripes over the decades, a fan truly doesn’t get perspective until he or she sees all the plaques and monuments that immortalize their heroes, names like Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, Berra and Rizzuto, among others.

Such an experience begs the question: how does Jeter stack up against those guys?

Well, as far as Yankees franchise records go, Jeter certainly belongs in any conversation, whether it’s held in the bar across the street or within the daunting confines of Monument Park.

According to Major League Baseball, Jeter is in the top 10 in batting average (.312), RBIs (1,157) and home runs (236), but that’s just the beginning. He’s first all-time in hits and stolen bases (330) and second in doubles (480).

He will pass leader Mickey Mantle on the games played list sometime in August, has been team captain longer than anyone and has five World Series championship rings. Berra has 10.

But what makes Jeter truly great are not statistics. It’s the intangibles. Remember the “flip” in the 2001 playoffs against Oakland? What about his head-first dive into the stands against Boston? What about all the clutch postseason hits?

The great Don Mattingly recently said, “Jeter will go down as the greatest that’s ever played in New York.”

Let the arguments begin.

Where do you think Jeter stacks up all-time in Yankees history? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

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