You can hear it on sports radio talk shows. ¨Jeter was more important to the Yankees because he was an every day player.¨
¨No he wasn’t. The Yankees would never have won those championships without Rivera getting those saves.¨
¨That’s not true. You´re forgetting that they won that championship before Rivera even became the closer.¨
Why is this necessary? I challenge anyone who is participating in this debate to find one audio, video or article that put down Mickey Mantle for not having a 56-game hitting streak when he retired. Nobody mentioned that Babe Ruth had more home runs on the day that Lou Gehrig said farewell. There were no comparisons. They were allowed to retire in peace.
But in this era of Twitter and You Tube, some people just need to say something outlandish. Sure, give me a top ten list of Jeter´s and Rivera´s greatest accomplishments. Put them both in a list of Top Ten Yankees of All -Time. But to debate which player was more important to the Yankees at this time is disrespectful to both of them, with all due respect to my fellow writers.
First off, it´s an apples to oranges comparison. What are we going to do, compare batting averages to earned run averages? Come on. They both contributed heavily to those championships, along with a lot of other guys.
For most of the last two decades we have had the good fortune to have the greatest relief pitcher and the greatest shortstop in Yankees´history. We will never see one play again, and we only have one more year to enjoy seeing the other.
Why wouldn’t we just enjoy that?