Derek Jeter, Yankee
From the very first moment that he took the field in 1995 to his full Rookie of the Year season in 1996, from his naming as MVP of the 2000 All-Star Game and 2000 World Series to his naming as Captain of the Yankees, from his stellar Gold Glove play as shortstop to his clutch hitting, Derek Jeter has been my favorite Yankee player for over a decade now.
But his greatness will never be captured by raw statistics, which, no matter how good they might be simply do not express the consummate professionalism or remarkable talent and passion of this wonderful ballplayer. As older generations looked to the Ruths and the Gehrigs, the DiMaggios and the Mantles, this generation gets to see Jeter, Number 2, leaping into the stands to catch a foul ball to save the game or hitting a walk-off homer to win the game. This generation gets to see what it hopes will be another retired number, another Yankee great, whose image will someday grace Monument Park.
And yet, in his 11 years as Yankee shortstop, Derek Jeter has never hit a Grand Slam home run. 135 at-bats with the bases loaded, he's hit for a .333 average, but has never hit a home run to clear the bases.
Until today. Live on Fox. Game of the Week against the Chicago Cubs in a regular season interleague contest. First time the Cubs have been in for a series at Yankee Stadium since 1938. And he hit a second solo homer for good measure to power the Yanks to an 8-1 victory over the NL team.
Now if only the Yanks could get themselves together this year.