Derek Jeter is on the short list for greatest shortstops. You have the 3,304 hits and 255 homers and 348 steals and arguably more postseason plays of distinction than any other two or three men combined. Yet my first thoughts about Jeter always revolve around toughness. In fact, for a player whose tangibles and intangibles have been discussed and dissected on near endless loop for two decades, Jeter’s sturdiness perhaps has been undervalued and underappreciated. Maybe it is because he has that matinee idol persona — more Bieber than Butkus. “If you were with him, you know this: He takes a backseat to no one in toughness,” Joe Torre said by phone. People remember Jeter going headlong into the stands and emerging with a bloodied face against the Red Sox on July 1, 2004. Do you remember that he played short the next day? Heck, it was against the Mets. You would have had a better chance of removing his spleen with pliers than getting him out of the lineup. You probably remember Jeter making a somewhat similar play in the decisive Game 5 of the 2001 Division Series, tumbling back-first into the seats to catch a Terrence Long pop in the eighth inning. George Steinbrenner cried afterward in discussing the gallantry of the play. What you might not recall is Jeter hardly could walk by Game 7 of that year’s World Series. But he kept playing.
Ankle injury biggest test yet for Jeter’s unyielding resolve
New York Post | Apr 21