Captain Jetes instead of Tex?

August, 19, 2009
8/19/09
3:52
PM ET
The man who invented the term "Jeterate" now wonders if the namesake is underrated. Money quote:
    He's a great player having another great season. He's one of the best hitting shortstops in baseball history. He's an absolute first ballot Hall of Famer even if his career ended tomorrow.

    And in my mind, if Yankees fans want to push one of their own as an MVP candidate they should stop pushing first baseman Mark Teixeira. He's hitting well, but he's a first baseman and they're supposed to hit. Tex is having roughly the same sort of offensive season that other American League first basemen are having, Put his numbers into a pile with Detroit's Miguel Cabrera, Boston's Kevin Youkilis, Minnesota's Justin Morneau, and even the Angels' Kendry Morales -- there isn't much separating them.

    Instead push the Captain, Mr. November, the best hitting shortstop in the long history of the New York Yankees. Jeter is great, and he is unique, and it's not about intangibles. No. That's the point. It's tangible.

Derek Jeter's a great player. I've written that he's a great player --  oh, I don't know -- many dozens of times, I'm sure. What's wearisome about Derek Jeter isn't Derek Jeter. Well, maybe Derek Jeter a little bit. He does sometimes seem a bit smug, and lacking in genuineness. But what's most wearisome is the deification of Derek Jeter, as if he's not merely a great player but rather a perfect, infallible player. Like God, or Willie Mays.

You already know all this. What Joe's done here is inject a necessary note of objective analysis into what's too often a subjective discussion of the MVP candidates. Joe thinks and I think and (most of) you probably think that Joe Mauer is the best player in the American League and thus, by definition, the most valuable.

But we know that many voters simply won't throw their support behind a player on a third-place team, and Mauer's Twins are probably going to finish in third place. What Joe's asking those voters -- what I'm asking those voters -- is to look at all the players on the playoff teams, and not just the ones who hit home runs and finish with gaudy RBI totals. Jeter, so often overappreciated by the fans and the broadcasters in New York, has too often been underappreciated by MVP voters. Purely because he plays shortstop and scores runs rather than playing first base and driving them home.

I wouldn't vote for him this year. I sure hope somebody does, though.

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