GLENDALE, Ariz. — The New York Yankees’ roster has boasted some of the top players in history, but Derek Jeter is the greatest according to Robin Ventura.
The White Sox manager was asked Sunday on his thoughts about his former teammate, who earlier this week announced 2014 would be his final season in the majors. Ventura had no reservations identifying Jeter as the best player in Yankee history.
Ventura believes Jeter’s five World Series rings, 3,316 career hits, postseason performance and — just as important — performance off the field in the Internet age have made him the most complete Yankee in history. The two were teammates from 2002-03.
“There’s not too many that have done what he has done,” Ventura said. “He’s represented not only the Yankees but baseball on and off the field as good as anybody has ever done at a time when it’s as difficult to do as any time. I’ve said before, I think he’s the greatest Yankee ever just because of the teams he was on, how he played, his numbers and the time he did it.”
Aside from a story about gift baskets he gives to women he befriends, Jeter has managed to stay out of the spotlight in an era when Deadspin and TMZ cover every aspect of athlete’s lives. Jeter has avoided Twitter incidents, calling out a teammate publicly and negative press in general.
Ventura thinks that aspect of his career while playing in New York for 20 seasons is something few athletes could match.
“It’s a difficult time to be an athlete of his stature and come out of it the way he’s coming out of it,” Ventura said. “He’s respected by everybody that plays baseball and even outside. I have nothing but high regard for what Derek’s done and how he went about it.”