Wednesday, July 11, 2012


When the topic of Derek Jeter is discussed within baseball or even sports, there is little to zero argument, at least amongst educated sports fans, regarding the following:

1. Derek Jeter is a guaranteed future Hall-of-Famer and will be nominated the first year he is eligible.
2. He is among the greatest active players, if not, the greatest active player in his position.
3. He is one of the greatest hitters of all time.

The above can be substantiated with statistics, player performance, various titles and championships. What you cannot place a number on is his dedication, professionalism and elite sportsmanship.  He is a true athlete in every sense of the word and is an excellent representative of baseball and the New York Yankees.  He has done so much for the sport and his team without any scandal, blemishes or controversy, except maybe for a few "called" home runs...  remember Jeffrey Maier and the 1996 ALCS? 

(In Photo: Jeffrey Maier's 1996 ALCS catch)
It is because of all this that he was named captain in 2003 and The Boss felt he'd earned the privilege of filling Donnie Baseball's shoes.  Since then, he has served as a leader to all players with whom he has crossed paths and Yankees fans worldwide have placed their complete faith and trust in knowing that, when the Yankees Universe ship is capsizing, The Captain will pave the way to right what is wrong. These are the duties of a team captain and the purpose the position serves. It is why the Yankees, the greatest organization in sports history, is only one of two teams with a captain,  a position that is not recognized by league rules because, in this writer's opinion, it is a title that is earned, not assigned.
Derek Jeter's retirement will go down in history, at least for someone my age, as the saddest retirement in our lives, ranking among those of Michael Jordan, Cal Ripken and, yes, maybe even Brett Favre.  I have no doubt that Derek will remain with the Yankees organization in some capacity, most likely the front office.  I don't see him coaching or managing, not because he isn't a born leader, but simply because his significance to the team is more transcendent.  If the Yankees were a beautiful European sports car and the coach was the steering wheel, Derek Jeter would be the fuel.  I cannot envision the Yankees being the Yankees without him.  The question then becomes, "Who would be the next Yankees captain?"
If Robinson Cano remains the player that he is, something I have absolutely zero doubt he will do, you can literally insert his name into all of the above paragraphs and be satisfied with what comes out on the other side.

Like Jeter, Robbie spent several years in our farm system (3 for Jeter, 4 for Cano), nearly having been traded several times (Robbie was almost traded to the Rangers, read HERE).  He is tested, in that sense. They have both charged right out of the gate, Jeter batting .314 with 183 hits with 78 RBI in his second Major League season and Cano hitting .297 with 155 hits and 62 RBI in his first Major League year. Jeter was the Rookie of the Year and Robbie placed second in voting.  Both are multi-year All-Stars.
Statistics aside, Robinson's talent, professionalism and athleticism make him the prime candidate for the next Yankee captain, if there is to be one.  His personality makes him a fan favorite and he is the best active second baseman in the league.  I would be honored to hail Cano as our captain.  If I'm forced to envision a Yankees future without Derek Jeter on the field or in the lineup, my pain would be lessened by having Cano in his place, especially with our former captain looking on.  The future of the Yankees and its leadership is bright because this team fosters professionalism and history.  I hope that Robinson Cano will lead the way.

--Fox Luu, BYB Guest Writer

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