As usual, David Wright was attempting to be modest when he downplayed owner Fred Wilpon’s comments this week that he “is the Mets’ Derek Jeter.’’
Statistically, there’s not a comparison, in that Jeter has over 3,000 hits and five World Series rings and is a slam dunk Hall of Famer if he didn’t play another game. Unquestionably, he’s in on the first ballot. There’s no denying is greatness as a player.
As for Wright, he hits for more power, but will have to turn it on for the remainder of his contract if he’s to catch Jeter in a number of statistical categories.
As a clutch player, Jeter has few peers.
Defensively, both are good at their positions. Both can run.
Of course, Jeter has played longer and with a better team, so his numbers would be superior.
However, Wilpon wasn’t talking about statistics. Wilpon was referring to the intangibles both bring to their respective teams. These are qualities that can’t be measured.
Jeter is the Yankees’ captain and I expect Terry Collins to make a similar appointment to Wright, although neither needs an official designation to know they are the leaders of their teams.
When something happens in baseball or with their teams, both are sought after as being the player spokesman. Writers know articles with quotes from Wright and Jeter seem to be more authoritative. When you want the temperature of the Mets, one talks to Wright. When you want it of the Yankees, Jeter is the guy.
Both are players the younger guys look up, and both have no problems calling out somebody who doesn’t hustle or makes a mistake. When a pitcher needs calming down, you’ll see both go to the mound.
Both are the respective faces of their teams. Both are their current identities. Unquestionably, both are the players the fans pay to see.
Both have the intangibles you can see and feel, but there is no statistical measure.
And, you can’t imagine either in another team’s uniform. That’s why free agency never really applied to either. Despite his coy references, you knew Jeter wasn’t going anywhere.
And, despite the Mets’ economic crunch, I never had the feeling Wright would leave on his own. Jeter will retire a Yankee and go to the Hall of Fame. Wright will retire a Met, and if he finishes the second half of his career like the first half, he too, should see Cooperstown.
That’s what Wilpon meant.