Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Ridiculous, I know, but think about it for a second. How much different would the lives of Jeter and Ruth be if they changed places in Yankee history? I mean look, I know, the pitchers were different back in the 1920’s… they're different now. The playoffs are longer, the season is longer, sure, there are plenty of factors to consider, but let's try to keep it simple. What if their statistics were exactly the same, but just in a different era? How would they stack up and would their lives be different? I would venture to say… they would be...maybe, but it would be interested, especially with the way things are today and the way the game was played then.

Now in fairness, this is my scenario, so, while your opinions are welcome, don’t crucify me. Everyone will have different opinions on this no doubt. Just leave your comments in the comments section below and keep it clean.

Derek Jeter: Well, right off the bat, I see Jeter having very similar popularity as he does today. Being a New York Yankee, it comes with the territory. Lou Gehrig would most likely still be the Captain of the Yankees, but it would be a tough call. Jeter would have been known as a team leader, and one of the best Yankees ever, plus, he'd be considered one of the nicest Yankee players of this era. He would almost be considered to be unorthodox because of the atmosphere around him, meaning, in the 1920's, the game was tougher, the season was shorter, the times were different and you heard all sorts of crazy stories about off-field antics. Jeter would have stayed on the straight and narrow and I base that solely on his personality and upbringing... a “tight ass” so to speak, especially when you read about the craziness of Babe Ruth and his rumored drinking HERE and guys like Ty Cobb and his rumored nastiness (HERE).I would even suspect Jeter would have been very close to Lou Gehrig personally; much closer than the Babe and Lou were. Lou Gehrig would have been Derek’s Jorge Posada.

Sure, I believe that Derek Jeter would have went down in the record books as a great ballplayer, like Joe DiMaggio and much later Don Mattingly and no doubt he would have been a part of those winning championship teams in 1923, 1927, 1928 and 1932. But I do wonder if Babe Ruth's talent's really would have contributed more to those championships than Jeter would have. I'm just asking...I don't know. Would Ruth's power have made a difference? Looking at 2 of Ruth's World Series' performances, it's a toss up. For example, in 1928, Babe Ruth batted .628 with 10 hits and 3 home runs and scored 9 runs. In 1927, Ruth batted .400 with 7 RBIs. Could Jeter have done that? I would say yes, knowing what we know about Derek and the post season.

You'd have to also think about the bigger question when comparing Jeter to Ruth. If Jeter played on the Yankees from 1920 to 1934, would he perform like he was larger than life like Ruth? I'm not so sure. Ruth was iconic because of his big personality and power...he was like a God because he hit more home runs than entire teams. Jeter's iconic because of his Yankee professionalism and talent. It's different... That's what I think anyway.

If you look at Jeter’s numbers, he would have blended in nicely as a team leader, but he would have been more well rounded so to speak. Look, Jeter at this point has over 9800 at bats, a .313 average, 3088 hits and 24o home runs. Clearly that's a man who plays in a longer season. The Yankees in the 20's had guys like Tony Lazzeri who had 6297 career at bats, 178 homers and a .292 average. Bill Dickey had 6300 at bats, 202 home runs and a .313 average. Earle Combs... he had 5746 at bats, a .325 average and only 58 home runs. Teams played less games, they would have had less at bats and I would conclude that Jeter's number would have been similar to guys like these. Yes, he would have still maintained that over .300 average, but he may not have reached the 3000 hit mark.

And look, if he did hit 3000 in the 1920's, today it would be a story legends are made of... "Grandpa, tell me about how Jeter hit his 3000th hit and it was home run again!" It would be Jeter's claim to fame. Jeter would have made the Hall of Fame easily and his number would have been retired relatively quickly too I believe.

Babe Ruth: Well, sure this is a tough one because if you get too technical, the Red Sox would have never sold the Yankees Babe Ruth in this day and age. But for argument sake, say they did and say Ruth started his pro career when Jeter did...1995. Ruth would have been apart of the 5 Yankees championships and I would venture to say they may have even won more because of Babe Ruth’s raw power. Jeter contributed well to in the playoffs, but don't forget, the playoffs are longer than they were in the 1920's. More games, more rounds. But let's make it simpler...let's just look at the World Series numbers:

  • In 10 years of World Series games, Ruth had 129 at bats, had a .325 average, 15 home runs, 33 RBIs and an OBP of .467.
  • In 7 years of World Series games, Jeter calculated 156 At Bats, 3 home runs, a .321 average, 9 RBIs and a OBP of .384.

I ask quite simply, would Babe have helped bring more championships because of of his raw power alone? Ruth would have been a monster in this age, but I suspect he would constantly be surrounded by PEDs accusations as well as probably getting fined for drinking and excessive eating... all stemming from team rules. I would also bet David Wells and he would have been best friends in the late 1990's because of their same interests but I almost see the Yankees eventually trading Wells to keep them separated to focus Ruth. The Boss would have loved the Babe like he loved Jeter, because he loved winning, but in the end, he probably wouldn’t have tolerated the bad diet and drinking issues. That being said, you know that the Yankees would have kept Ruth around as long as possible because of his talent and star power. Ruth in this day and age would keep Yankee Stadium sold out, no doubt everyone would want a ticket.

Look, this was clearly more difficult that I originally dreamed, but fun. Both Jeter and Ruth would have probably led the same lives in my opinion, but would have been subjected to different elements of the times they visited. Looking through this, I realize that God does things for a reason. Ruth belonged where he did as does Jeet today. To think of it the other way is almost nuts... or is it?

Please comment, we have DISQUS, it's easier than ever. Let me know what you think and follow me on Twitter @BleednYankeeBlu and look for the hashtag #BYB. Also, join the group Bleeding Yankee Blue on Facebook, just type it in.

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