Monday, May 9, 2011
Yankees have to hope Derek isn't another Babe
By Wallace Matthews
Derek Jeter's big day on Sunday, four hits, his first two home runs of the season, and three RBI, have rekindled hopes that the Yankees 36-year-old captain was on his way to rebounding strongly from his subpar 2010 season and slow start to the 2011 season.
But it should be noted that 76 years ago this month, another one-time Yankee captain seemed to have resurrected his career with a three-homer day on May 25, 1935. Eight days later, Babe Ruth announced his retirement. Turns out those three HRs were the last hits of his illustrious career; he went 0-for-9 in his next five games before hanging them up.
There are significant differences, of course. Ruth was 40, not 36, and had been in decline, byt his standards, for the previous two seasons. The Yankees had let him go the previous year and, playing for the Boston Braves, his heart clearly was not in it anymore. Plus, unlike Jeter, the Babe was not in the first year of a guaranteed three-year, $51 million contract. Ruth played that season for $35,000, an amount that was reduced by the amount of playing time he missed. For that final month of his career, Ruth probably got less than $10,000.