What Does Derek Jeter’s Milestone Signify?

Just as Alex Rodriguez’s 600th home run last year wasn’t the sole focus of his milestone, Derek Jeter’s 3000th celebration is mired in question marks.

3000 is the hump that all great hitters strive to get over. It’s the mark that tells the world that you are one of the world’s finest hitters to ever play the game. Derek Jeter will become part of the exclusive, soon to be, 28 member club.

Although Jeter will shortly reach the peak of the 3000 hit mountain, his career is on the descent. His chase to 3000 is a distraction from the inevitable. The inevitable, interrupted by a calf injury. Jeter is finished from being on top of the baseball world.

The reality of it is that Derek Jeter is a grossly overpaid shortstop, batting .257 with just about everything except his media influence being limited as the days go by. Limited range, limited power, limited speed.

Derek Jeter is an aging athlete. There is no other way to put it. The sample presented by Jeter in the last season and a half is undeniable evidence. It can no longer be classified as an anomaly. A season and a half of mediocrity can be an anomaly at 30 but not 37.

Ichiro Suzuki is 37. It could be the first time in his career that he has a season batting under .300. Father time has got to him too.

Derek Jeter’s halo above his head does not give him the ability to avoid the inevitable that is coming sooner than he would like. He will always be the media darling but even Jeter worshippers can’t defend him forever.

For Jeter, 3000 hits means that his time as the leadoff hitter is running out. He knows he has no business being up there. The top of the order is no place for a former alpha male. Jeter is lucky that he is on one of the few teams that are able to mask the presence of an elephant at the top of the order.

The struggle that Derek Jeter has faced over the past year and a half to get to 3000 can’t be half as bad as the struggle that he is having trying to cope with his decline.

Denial is the first stage of any sort of grief but people should be past that point by now. Even Derek Jeter.

Anger. That’s something Jeter will probably see and hear from Yankee fans not long after number 3000. In sports but especially New York, it has what have you done for me lately? The Yankees are all about winning and Brian Cashman’s hardball with Derek Jeter in the off-season couldn’t have made the message any clearer.

Once Jeter hits 3000 New York can finally treat him as another average baseball player. Well, as average as an angel can be treated.

His 3000th hit will be an incredible moment. Much like a 100 year olds birthday, his milestone will be treasured, celebrated and last eternally.

It’s always a shame that the same human being will not.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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Greatest Hitter Ever?

Is Ichiro the best hitter of all-time?

By: Chris Ross

Everybody knows that the Japanese make high quality machinery, and one of the best products to come out of Japan is the machine-like Ichiro Suzuki.

Last week, Ichiro became the first player in Major League history to have 200 hits in an astounding 10 straight seasons. Of course, with any phenomenal stat for any athlete there is always talk of where that athlete ranks towards others of his kind. There have been so many great hitters that have come and gone in the Major Leagues, and we have to wonder where Ichiro ranks among them?

There is no doubt in my mind that Ichiro is one of the greatest hitters of all time, but what is questionable is his status of the greatest ever.

How about we compare some statistics.

Ted Williams, the one player that many people have failed to mention in this discussion, could possibly be the greatest. In 19 seasons Ted Williams finished with a career batting average of .344, a staggering .482 on-base percentage and 521 home runs. However, what is even more impressive about those numbers is that he missed 3 seasons in the prime of his career from 1943-1945 because of World War II. Even at the age of 41 Williams still hit a solid .316 in 113 games. Oh yeah, he was also the last player to hit above .400 in a season.

A .366 career batting average, .433 on-base, and never having a season with a batting average under .323. The man who put up these astounding numbers is Ty Cobb. Cobb also had 9 consecutive seasons with at least 200 hits.

Whenever you speak of the best hitters in baseball history Babe Ruth is going to come into the conversation 99% of the time. This is not without good reason. We all know about the 714 home runs that he hit, but we sometimes forget that he also hit for average. Ruth finished his career with a .342 batting average and a single season high at .393. He also had an on-base percentage of over .500 in multiple seasons.

Of course there are a number of other players that I would love to go through, but the above are the ones that I felt are in need of going further in-depth of. Other hitters that I could have gone farther in-depth with include Pete Rose, Tony Gwyn, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, etc. If you feel that I am missing anyone desperately important then please let it be known.

Let’s get back to the man in question.

Ichiro is one of those once in a forever players and not just because he is a great player. It is the quirky way in which he hits the ball and conducts himself as a person on and off the field. Albert Pujols is a great hitter, but he has as technically a sound swing as it gets. On the other hand, I’m not going to be telling my kid to pull away from the ball à la Ichiro

With that being said, the way in which Ichiro conducts himself has nothing to do with how good of a hitter he is. Despite his 10 straight 200 hit seasons, there have been a number of seasons in his career that have not been too impressive. If you include this season, there will be four years in his MLB career in which he has batted under .315, and only once has he had an on-base percentage above .400.

Personally, I don’t believe that on-base percentage is a big part of being a great hitter because it does not actually involve hitting the ball. With that being said, it still is a part of being an all-around hitter and Ichiro flat out does not walk very often.

Moreover, Ichiro has played 7 of his 10 seasons in the Majors over the age of 30, which means we have no idea what he could have done if he had started his career at say 23 years of age rather than 27.

Now, even though Ichiro is my favourite baseball of all-time, I think that there is enough evidence to conclude that he is not the greatest hitter of all-time. Top 5, yes. Best ever, no.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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