ESPN.com is running a poll called "Jeter vs Reyes" and solicited opposing viewpoints from staff writers Jayson Stark (Jeter) and Jerry Crasnick (Reyes). In defense of Jeter, Stark could have taken a number of angles. For instance, he could have mentioned that Jeter's on-base percentage is more than 40 points higher than Reyes's. Or that despite Reyes's gaudy stolen base total, Jeter has actually successfully swiped bags at a much higher rate (86% vs 79%). Instead he went with this:
The essence of Derek Jeter's greatness has never had anything to do with whether he has better "tools" than all those more "talented" players on those other 29 teams. And it has never had anything to do with almost all the stuff his critics bring up -- not his Zone Rating or his OPS or his VORP or anything else.Emphasis is mine. Just wow.
Jeter is a great player because he's one of those rare people who understands everything there is to understand about The Big Moment, lives to rise to that moment and actually feeds off all the Yankee craziness that reduces other guys (not mentioning any particular third basemen here) to overcooked manicotti.