A. The amount of hyperbole about to be thrown around about a player I consider to be one of the greatest Yankees of all-time was soon to hit incredible heights and B. the amount of writers who were going to do everything they could to diminish the level of his greatness was more than any of us could ever imagine.
When Derek Jeter announced his retirement a couple of days ago, I wrote about how amazing it is — in these times of Twitter and 24-hour sports talk and mean-old defensive statistics and smark-aleck bloggers who invent words like Jeterate — that Derek Jeter will walk away from the game almost universally admired. It is a happy fate that eluded almost every great player of his time. Derek Jeter was a fantastic player, a sure Hall of Famer, a man who played hard every day. For the next six months, people will come to dedicate a portion of baseball immortality on him. It is altogether fitting and proper that they should do this.
He was a fantastic baseball player. But you know what? Alan Trammell was just about as good.
Here are Alan Trammell’s and Derek Jeter’s neutralized offensive numbers.
Jeter was a better hitter. But it was closer than you might think. They had similar strengths offensively. At their best, they were .300 hitters with some power and some speed.
Wait, did he just try to compare the speed element of the game as if it was even close between these two?
Trammell didn’t even have a 2:1 SB-CS ratio while Jeter was nearly a 4:1 ratio.
Trammell had one season where he swiped 30 bags. Jeter had 4, and almost a 5th.
The years Jeter stole 30-35 he’d get caught 4-5 times. Trammell was caught 10 times is 30 SB season.
Me thinks the author is being disingenuous while trying to prove his own pre-determined narrative.
I think Trammell was indeed an incredible player, arguably a HoFer himself.
But 30 points difference in career AVG, OBP and OPS isn’t “close”. It’s on the outskirts of the neighborhood, but it isn’t “close”.
Neither provided a ton of pop, but then again their position isn’t one that is traditionally going to do that. That being said, the power numbers aren’t all that close either. If Jeter doesn’t hit another HR this season he’ll still have 70 more than Trammell (256-185) in the exact same number of seasons played.
Then there is the small matter of possessing over 1000 more hits…
…and the big post-season moments.
I know you can’t fault Trammell for not having been to the playoffs more than once, but you also cannot deny the fact that it’s a whole lot easier to have one great post-season run on a “hot team” than it is to maintain a .308/.374/.465/.838 slash line over 158 games, 700 PA’s in the post-season.
Let that sink in for a moment.
Against only the best pitching, the best teams for what equals an entire season’s worth of at-bats Derek Jeter put up the following line:
.308 AVG, .374 OBP, .465 SLG, .838 OPS with 20 HRs 111 R’s 61 RBI’s 200 H’s 32 Doubles 5 Triples 18 SB/5 CS and a bevy of heart-stopping moments.
That is the stuff of legend.
So sorry. Trammell was an incredible player, himself worthy of at the very least HoF discussion and maybe even a bronze plaque of his own.
But to say he is in the some rarefied air as Jeter is almost comcially incorrect.