Shortstop…Derek…Jeter…Numbah 2, of the New York Yankees, is celebrating his 46th birthday today.
Derek Jeter was supposed to be spending his 46th birthday on this beautiful summer Friday plotting out the intricacies of his Baseball Hall of Fame speech, dotting the i’s and remembering to thank the ancillary Yankees attendees like Mike Stanley and Ramiro Mendoza.
Instead, El Capitan’s induction ceremony in Cooperstown has been rightly postponed until 2021, and his primary worries these days regard the safe resumption of the Miami Marlins’ season, which has been foisted upon him by Rob Manfred.
However, amid the stress, we hope Jeets can take some time to celebrate on Friday (you know he will), his very first birthday as an official member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, even though the honor was neatly preordained in 1996.
The only Yankee with 3,000 hits.
The most runs scored of any Hall of Fame shortstop.
The second-most dingers.
The numbers are there, the rings are there, and anything the detractors have to say is post-mortem hogwash. If you lived through it, you know Jeter never held his Yankees back from victory at any point during a championship-laden, two-decade tenure. In fact, his presence annually ensured it. If you had to grit your teeth through it at the time, you have no right to open up your mouth now.
Instead of amplifying the space-wasters, we should be allowing those who idolized Jeter and mimicked his trademarks to hold the microphone high these days.
It’s impossible to quantify Jeter’s impact to non-New Yorkers, even though we absolutely shouldn’t have to. The counting numbers should do just fine, after all.
From the first jump throw (I was six) to the 3,000th hit (I was there) to the final walk-off (I was in my basement, but I and 300,000 New Yorkers will probably lie and tell you they snuck through the gates), there was always a good reason for Jeter to infiltrate national coverage.
But just know that you have no idea what you’re missing if you haven’t had a steady heartbeat in your lineup consecutively for the better part of 20 years. If you’ve never had an impenetrable force at the top of your batting order whose steely nerves seemed to trickle down through his eight counterparts, from his rookie season on. If you’ve never learned for yourself the difference between a star and an icon.
Derek Jeter and Bob Sheppard should eternally be teaming up to give me the chills on a summer Friday such as this one. Forever mounted in bronze, he’ll be doing so for generations to come, come next summer.