Thursday, February 13, 2014

Derek Jeter As Our Generation's Mickey Mantle

As many know by now, New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter has announced that this season will be his last season. This is two years in a row where Yankees legends have announced that the upcoming season will be their last. Something I told my friend Christopher has been on my mind. I told him that Derek Jeter is the Mickey Mantle of our generation. While I make the comparison between Jeter and Mantle, would also like to do so while making the comparison between Joe DiMaggio and Don Mattingly. How so? Allow me to elaborate on this.

Both DiMaggio and Mattingly were beloved by the Yankees faithful. While they were certainly missed by the fans after their retirement, the success by the team post-retirement helped to ease their departure. DiMaggio retired after the 1951 season. After he leaves the Yankees win the World Series in 1952-1953, 1956, 1958, 1961-1962 with losses in the World Series in 1955, 1957, 1960, 1963, and 1964. The stoic DiMaggio was replaced in the fans' hearts with charismatic and handsome Mickey Mantle.

Mattingly retired after the post-season loss to the Seattle Mariners in 1995 and the team would go on to win four World Series in five years 1996, 1998-2000 with losses in 2001 and 2003. As with DiMaggio, Mattingly (though not stoic as DiMaggio was) was replaced by his eventual successor as Yankees Captain: the charismatic and handsome Derek Jeter. In this I believe Mantle and Jeter are very similar.

Derek Jeter and Mickey Mantle
Both players were the leaders and face of the franchise during years of prosperity. Both were also the face of the teams when their careers started to decline amid injuries and a team that seemed to be a shadow of their winning selves. The departures of both players would (potentially in the case of Jeter) mark the end of prosperous eras. The end of the "Golden Era of New York Baseball" Yankees-era and the "Core Four" Yankees-era are (and will be) marked by the retirements of Mantle and Jeter respectively. Their teams would seem to be in flux, leaning towards leaner years to come. It would take eight years before the Yankees would return to the World Series post-Mantle. Time will only tell where the Yankees will stand post-Jeter.

All we know that we need to enjoy watching Derek Jeter as we did watching Mariano Rivera. Luckily for me (as I did last season) I have tickets for the last Yankees home game on September 25, 2014. We indeed are indeed on the in verge of a whole new Yankees era. Yankees Baseball won't be the same without Derek Jeter.

Sisco Kid