To be honest, this question was posed on Dubsism two years ago by myself and Dick Marple, the Chairman of the Dubsism Advisory Board. You can see the original post here, but since then, the numbers we examined have only gone up.
The one thing that hasn’t changed is the over-arching question. I know that means saying “yes” to that question means saying that Derek Jeter is a greater Yankee than some heavy-duty legends not just in pinstripes, but to baseball in general. Some people are simply going to scream their brains out stuck on the pre-eminence of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, and Joe DiMaggio.
However, doing so misses some really important stuff. For starters, let’s look at Jeter’s place in Yankee history, statistically speaking in the offensive categories. Also, don’t forget these number have at least two months of baseball left to change…
- Games Played: 2695 (1st)
- At-Bats: 10,988 (1st)
- Runs Scored: 1,510 (2nd, needs 50 to pass Babe Ruth)
- Runs Batted In: 1,288 (6th)
- Hits: 3,420 (1st)
- Doubles: 536 (1st)
- Triples: 66 (13th)
- Home Runs: 258 (9th)
- Strike-outs: 1,812 (1st)
- Stolen Bases: 356 (1st)
- Caught Stealing: 96 (5th)
- Batting Average: .311 (7th)
- On-Base Percentage: .380 (17th)
- Slugging Percentage: .442 (37th)
A lot of people will look at those numbers and will be surprised at how many categories in which Jeter is the all-time Yankee leader. The numbers that surprised me were the fact that Jeter is in the Yankees’ top ten in home runs considering all the sluggers that have worn pinstripes. Lou Gehrig was a doubles-hitting machine, but Derek Jeter passed him. But on the other side of the coin, I was surprised that Jeter’s on-base percentage wasn’t higher than it is.
Now, for the fun part. When it comes to the non-statistical arguments, in my mind the battle for the title of Greatest Yankee Ever is a two-horse race; Jeter or Ruth.
Had Lou Gehrig’s career not been cut short, this is a different conversation. Two more seasons and Gehrig would have been in the 500-home run, 3,000-hit club. Having reached that plateau may very well have made him the subject of this discussion.
Two years ago, I had DiMaggio at #2 on this list. But I honestly believe Jeter sailed past the Yankee Clipper on the following points. DiMaggio’s biggest claim to fame was being the best hitter in the game not named Ted Williams. While Jeter was not the batsman DiMaggio was, Jeter is arguably the biggest clutch performer baseball has seen since Reggie “Mr. October” Jackson. Jeter also did this while playing more games than anybody else in the history of baseball at the toughest position on the diamond that doesn’t have to wear a mask. Jeter also passed DiMaggio in terms of notches on the bedpost as well. The Yankee Clipper got to call Marilyn Monroe a “home port,” but Derek Jeter has a list of conquests of legendary proportions.
But no matter how you slice it, I simply cannot put anybody ahead of Babe Ruth. If I were to make a list of the greatest sports figures of the 20th Century, Babe Ruth tops it all for three massively important reasons.
First of all, Babe Ruth changed baseball. Before “The Sultan of Swat,” the home run was an anomaly in an era when the ball was made out of lettuce and it was legal to put an entire quart of Pennzoil on the ball. Before Ruth, baseball’s home run leader was a guy named Frank “Home run” Baker, who was tearing up that salad-ball to the tune of eight taters a year. Without the “Bambino,” we would never have had our century-long fascination with the long ball.
That fact led to two other reasons. The old Yankee Stadium was called “The House That Ruth Built” because people would fill a 20,000-seat ballpark to watch Ruth do his thing. Not only did other baseball owners realize that people would pay to see their product, it’s no accident that the other major sports leagues started after Ruth built baseball.
To top it all off, let’s not forget that Babe Ruth comes along at a time when baseball sorely needed a star. In 1919, baseball was on the verge of being destroyed by the “Black Sox Scandal,” and it was the combination of Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis restoration of the integrity of the game and Ruth mesmerizing blasts that saved it.
On the last episode of the Blast-Cast with J-Dub and Meehan, J-Dub was posed a question about his loyalty in terms of being a fan of a certain team. That conversation quickly turned into an analogy between being a fan of multiple teams and the illusory nature of monogamous relationships. It may not be pretty, but people cheat on their significant others, and they cheat on their sports teams as well. Instead of wasting time about denying this ugly reality, its’ time for another Dubsism public service.
What’s funny in all of this is that while this conversation started about football, it is actually in baseball where J-Dub has a serious case of split loyalties; he is a fan of both the Minnesota Twins and the Los Angeles Angels. How this happened isn’t all that important for now, those details will be coming in an upcoming installment of Tales of Depression and Sorrow. The short answer for purposes of this discussion is that J-Dub grew up in Southern California in the 1970’s, an era when the Dodgers were full of loathable characters like Tommy Lasorda and Steve Gravey, and the Angles were the hometown alternative. The Twins then and now have had a long history of providing the Orange County 9 some of their best players.
Having said all that, much like marriage puts a structure to this issue in terms of relationships, we are going to do the same with sports fandom.
I. General Rule
While multiples allegiances are allowed, there is a strict hierarchy which must be observed. There are 3 allowable levels.
This is another installment in the Sports Blog Movement series which now calls Dubsism home. Tales of Depression and Sorrow takes a hard look at certain instances, or specific seasons which would make sports fans cringe in horror and pain, or expands on that to take a hard look at the long-suffering fans of franchises who have tortured their supporters for decades.
Last year, we did an examination of Ryan Meehan’s tortures at being a fan of the New York Giants. Now, we turn the tables, as it is Meehan’s turn to ask the questions; to probe J-Dub’s deepest traumas over years of being a Philadelphia Eagles’ fan.
Only fun things can happen when a Giants’ fan and an Eagles’ fan get together; you can almost hear the knuckles hitting the teeth from here!
Click here to listen to or download the Blast-Cast (MP3 format)…The Blast-Cast is also available on Itunes.
P.S. During the Blast-Cast, J-Dub and Meehan ask for your Tales of Sorrow and Depression. They say there is no story they won’t hear, but to be honest, they’ve already heard from far too many Chicago Cubs fans…
Sports Doppelgangers, Volume 63 – Keeping Alexei Ramirez Away From the U.S. Navy Might Be A Good Idea
As promised, the former Sports Blog Movement feature Sports Doppelgangers will live on here at Dubsism. Having said that, this doppelganger is a bit more abstract than usual, if for no other reason than you really have to picture some things in your mind to make this one work.
First, head down to your local Redbox and rent the movie “Captain Phillps.” Then watch a Chicago White Sox game. I think the real reason Ramirez has been battling back problems all year is because before he was a Cuban shortstop, he may have been a Somali pirate, and may have some lead in his ass courtesy of the U.S. Navy.
It’s hard to see at first, but think about it. By taking some major league money, Ramirez could have easily got the orthodontia he desperately needed, then he could have easily fattened up in Chicago, which goes without saying as being a much better food town than Mogadishu. Fogo de Chao versus a dog skull filled with couscous and rotten goat? Even Joe West couldn’t blow that call.
It’s not so hard to see now, is it?
You can see the other installments in this series at the SBM Archive
Sports Blog Movement may be gone, but the Blast-Cast has returned. Today’s episode is all about a preview of the upcoming NFL season that only J-Dub and Ryan Meehan can bring you. This is more than just which team is better than which…this is stuff you really need to know!
WARNING: This Blast-Cast gets a bit more R-rated and addresses some controversial subjects. This is because J-Dub and Meehan get into a discussion about how NFL Kommissar Roger Goodell is going to screw up the NFL somehow, and this leads to a point where J-Dub has a profanity-filled tirade and says some things that some may find objectionable. Granted, that’s not really news, but the point is that if you are easily offended, maybe you should skip this podcast and stick with something more NPR-ish. In other words, if you choose to listen to this Blast-Cast and hear something that pisses you off, don’t say you weren’t warned.
Click here to listen to or download the Blast-Cast (MP3 format)…The Blast-Cast is also available on Itunes.
Editor’s Note: Mr. Rockford is a private detective based in Malibu, California. We here at Dubsism have retained Mr. Rockford at his standard rate of two hundred dollars a day plus expenses to investigate matters of crime and other general shadiness in the world of sports, then report back to us when needed. If you would like to contact Mr. Rockford, at the tone, leave your name and number and he’ll get back to you.
Being a private investigator, I don’t believe in coincidences. Having said that, don’t think for a minute there is a coincidence between the death of James Garner and the death of Sports Blog Movement. To make a long story short, while SBM had great contributors and was the home to some awesome sports content, it proved to have one fatal flaw; it diluted that great content across too many outlets. That’s why while SBM has gone away, many of the features you had come to know at SBM will still be available on Dubsism.
For example, soon you will be hearing the Blast-Cast again, the podcasting partner ship between J-Dub and Ryan Meehan. As long as we a speaking of podcasts, Radio J-Dub will making a return soon. If you aren’t familiar, think of these casts as the antithesis of the useless self-manufactured fluff brought to you by the likes of ESPN, or as it is referred to on Dubsism, the World Wide Bottom Feeder.
In addition to that, many features that were once exclusive to Sports Blog Movement that will be making a new home on Dubsism.
- Sports Doppelgangers: The series for sports and celebrity look-alikes
- Tales of Depression and Sorrow: Stories of long-suffering fans of not-so-good teams
- Conversations Not Meant To Be Public: Great stuff unearthed by J-Dub’s investigative journalism division. DISCLAIMER: Buy “unearthed,” J-Dub may mean “completely fabricated.” But it some seriously funny stuff in any event
- The Deep Six: A Ryan Meehan joint (often featuring J-Dub) exposing the foibles of pop culture in sports
Not only will Dubsism be the new home of these features, but it will to continue to being you the finest in J-Dub’s sports-themed rants as it always has. But by now, you have to be asking yourself “what the hell does Jim Rockford have to do with all this?”Because another feature Dubsism has had since it’s inception is a long line of guest columns. There’s plenty of collaborations with the aforementioned Ryan Meehan, there’s a long list of informative pieces on the complexities of the business of sport by famed general manager Joe McGrath, and a host of contributions by King George VI, who explains all sorts of thing Americans generally don’t understand. I’m included in there as well; the world of sports has all sorts of seedy dealings in the shadows of the law. See, now that James Garner is gone, nobody is likely to sue Dubsism over the deal I just signed to be it’s exclusive investigatory contributor.So, if you are a sports fan, you will want to subscribe to Dubsism today. There’s going to be too much stuff available here that you simply can’t afford to miss!
On Monday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has handed Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling a lifetime ban from the NBA, along with issuing the maximum allowable fine of $2.5 million. Silver also said that we will ask the NBA owners to essentially kick Sterling out of the league. Since then, there have been lots of articles written proclaiming victory over the evil Sterling and celebrating the end of his reign.
Now, do not mistake this as defense of Sterling; I’m on record far too many times decrying what a colossal asshole he is (here, here, and here for starters). Nor is this a criticism of Silver’s actions. His hand was forced by a “perfect storm” of circumstances; 30+ years of inaction by the NBA, a firestorm of public outrage, a threatened walk-out by the players, and sponsors bailing out meant Silver really had no choice. Rather, this is a “warts-and-all” assessment of what might happen, given the assumption that Sterling has a long and litigious history and given that, forcing him out of the league raises some very problematic legal issues.
This assessment is necessary because we all know there is a distinct possibility that Sterling will sue. Sterling is an attorney, which helps explain why he has a reputation as the most litigious owners in all of professional sports. Given what is at stake here, it would be a surprise if he doesn’t file a lawsuit contesting his expulsion. Not only do we need to consider the possibility that he files such a suit, but we also need to look at the options under which he has to file a suit, and the viability of those possibilities.
To me, Jack Ramsay will always be the man who got me interested in basketball, and at the time he did it, that was a tall order. Those of you under 30 don’t remember what a time of malaise the late 1970’s were for the NBA. There was such parity in the league that the league was really hard to watch. The merger with the American Basketball Association had not produced the super-league like the NFL, and more importantly, there was no national television coverage to speak of, except for the playoffs.
As a kid in southern California, this meant to watch the NBA meant the Los Angeles Lakers on local television. That also meant watching a lot of bad teams; the western conference was stocked with hapless teams like the Phoenix Suns, Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks, and Seattle SuperSonics.
But then 1976 came. One night in November, the Portland TrailBlazers came to town, and they matched up with the Lakers like no other team in the West I had seen up to that time. They were coached by this bald guy who wore some seriously loud outfits, and his team played at a pace I’d never seen. That season saw the Portland TrailBlazers run over, around, and through the NBA, scoring over 110 points per game in an era that didn’t have the three-point shot.
The TrailBlazers won the NBA Championship that season in an epic six-game series against the Philadelphia 76ers. Injuries, particularly to star center Bill Walton, meant the TrailBlazers would never claim another league title, but the style of play invented by Dr. Jack Ramsay would certainly live on, most notably with the “Showtime” Lakers of the 1980’s.
John T. “Dr. Jack’s” Ramsay’s journey through life and basketball began with his birth on February 21, 1925 in Philadelphia. He enrolled at Saint Joseph’s University in 1942, where he eventually became captain of the basketball team. Later, Ramsay earned a doctorate in education from the University of Pennsylvania, which is were the “Dr.” tag came from.
Ramsay began coaching Saint Joseph’s in 1955, where he enjoyed a great deal of success. He notched a record of of 234-72 and led the Hawks to the NCAA tournament seven times and the Final Four in 1961. Ramsay often said that his years at St. Joseph’s were the most fulfilling of his life, largely because that was when he met his wife, and because he played a large role in the growth of the “Big 5,” the annual Philadelphia basketball series involving Saint Joseph’s, La Salle, Penn, Villanova and Temple.
In the professional ranks, Ramsay coached in the NBA for parts of 21 seasons. Ramsay became coach of the Philadelphia 76ers in 1968, joined the Buffalo Braves in 1972, and brought his craft to Portland in 1976. That TrailBlazer team featured stars such as Bill Walton, Lionel Hollins, and Maurice Lucas, and that team took the NBA championship in Ramsay’s first season as coach. He finished his coaching career with the Indiana Pacers in 1989, but that was not the end of his career. Ramsay went from the sideline to the broadcast booth, where he spent 21 years as one of the best announcers in basketball.
Ramsay was 864-783 in his NBA career and in 1996 was honored as one of the league’s all-time top 10 coaches, and he will be missed.
The other day, I did a podcast on this Donald Sterling situation, and one of the things I mentioned in that show is that when it hits the media, racism does a wonderful job of exposing stupidity, both for the jag-off who says the racist comment and invariably for somebody who gets their hand forced by it. Thanks to the 24-hour news cycle, we are all balls-deep in what Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling said. But with all the attention being paid to that idiot, there’s some others who are getting exposed as well.
The first of what I’m guessing will be several examples to come from this whole affair is Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers. Here’s a guy with a real problem on his hands. On one hand, whether he likes it or not, he is stuck in middle of this mess, and on the other hand, he has no way out. And he has nobody to blame but himself.
That fact was made clear when Rivers was questioned about whether or not he knew about Sterling’s racist past. The quote is priceless.
“Didn’t know a lot about it. Probably should have.”
At first, I had no idea what the fuck that was supposed to mean. Then it hit me. Rivers is doing the exact opposite of what Samuel L. Jackson did after he got criticized for his role in the movie “Django.”
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is a never-ending well-spring for bloggers because he just can’t help sticking both feet in his mouth. Once again, he’s done so, and once again, the issue is race. In this episode, J-Dub proposes a unique solution to the problem; one that would be awesome, but won’t happen.
You can subscribe to and download the podcast here, as well as get information on how to participate when Radio J-Dub is being recorded live. Radio J-Dub can also be found on Itunes.