And just like that, one of the greatest Yankees of all-time ended his career at Yankee Stadium with a walk-off hit. I've been fortunate to see some great athletes in my time. Michael Jordan, Oscar De La Hoya, Mariano Rivera. Derek Jeter, however, is probably the best of the bunch. The other three had a level of absolute talent that Jeter never possessed. Jordan looked like he was playing a different sport altogether that the rest of NBA was trying to figure out as they went. De La Hoya had those hands and that capacity for smelling blood in the water that made him such a dangerous fighter. Mo had that cutter. He threw one pitch and almost no one ever hit it.
Jeter had . . . the spinning throw. It was less a god-given ability than a way to compensate for some of his defensive weaknesses. But that's just it. Jeter didn't have the best tools in the game, but he took the tools he had and crafted masterpieces with them, and that's all we'll ever remember. How many great Jeter moments did we get to watch? When he was on the verge of 3,000 hits, just recently having come off the DL, he stepped into a game against one of the best pitchers in baseball, hit a home run for number 3,000 and went 5-5. He may not have had the best tools, but he was the best of the artists. And when you have art, the tools matter a lot less.
Thank you Derek. Thank you for 20 seasons of masterpiece baseball.