Final Farewell to Former NY Yankees Shortstop Derek Jeter, Who’s Next?
By Sergio Rodriguez
Sports Editor and Former ESPN Analyst
unday, May 14, 2017, was Mother’s Day across this great country of ours but in Yankee Stadium it was Derek Jeter day. The former Yankees star was having his number retired and many Yankee greats were in attendance for the festivities. On hand were former centerfielder Bernie Williams, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and a host of other players and coaches, including Jeter’s long time manager Joe Torre.
The ceremony in typical Yankees fashion was well orchestrated and ran smoothly and, let’s be honest, it was truly deserving. The deserving part is a very important thing to keep in mind when you think about Derek Jeter and what the Yankees have done in recent years with other number retirements and Monument Park inductions. Jeter has all the accomplishments and the pedigree that are deserved to have such an honor bestowed on him even if he was not a top 25-30 player in the history of the game. The fact remains that he was a great player for this organization and he accomplished everything that was asked of him and more during his 20-year career.
This brings us to another topic. Who’s the next guy to have this honor? Roger Clemens? Alex Rodriguez? If the boss was still alive there would be no debate about Clemens: he was his guy and the man who single-handedly raised the attendance record at the stadium. Rodriguez is the interesting one. The Yankees have made a mockery of the retirement and monument park process in recent years with guys like Paul O’Neill, Posada, Pettitte and to a certain degree Williams, so how will they justify keeping A-Rod out?
1. Steroid user
2. Not a real Yankee
All four are ridiculous arguments but they have been used nonetheless. Pettitte was a steroid user who was forgiven after he lied and then apparently told the truth about himself because they busted his dad as the “pusher supplying the fix”, not to mention that in doing so he became a rat by throwing his so-called best friend Clemens under the bus. A-Rod played with the Yankees from 2004 to 2016, which is more than half of his career. Yankees fans who never wanted to warm up to him because they hated the fact that he was a better player than Jeter have to also admit the fact that the World Series drought would be over 16 years without his 2009 heroics. Finally, the numbers. As a Yankee, Alex has 351 home runs, more than Williams, Posada, O’Neill and Tino Martinez, who somehow has a plaque in Monument Park also. Factor into the stats that he drove in over 1,000 runs as a Yankee, won multiple MVP’s (something Jeter never did once) and he also reached the 500 HR mark and 3,000 hit mark in the pinstripe uniform; this is a slam dunk. One thing is for sure: when they, or if they, retire number 13 someday, it will be well deserved, just like number 2 was on Mother’s Day.