Derek Jeter Played 21 Seasons Inside 20 Years

Derek Jeter is generally loved by baseball. There’s a lot that can be written covering his 3,000+ hits, excellent run production, and multiple World Series rings. While he would undoubtedly be a well-known player if he had played for non-contending teams, it his time as part of one of the most prolific Yankee runs in history that gives him an extra bit of cachet. It’s not the wins that do this, but rather the way he used this to squeeze in an extra full season over the course of his career.

Multiple baseball card manufacturers were putting Jeter’s photo on cardboard as early as 1993, though he would not actually get to the majors until 1996. He would play 20 years for New York, only twice failing to reach at least 600 plate appearances in a season. So how did he play 21 seasons in this span? From 1996 to 2012 the Yankees appeared in 18 consecutive postseasons and played in 7 World Series. Jeter came to the plate 734 times in that span, a figure equal to a full year’s production.

This would have been the most sought-after card of the 1990s if Topps had included it in the original ’93 Finest set.

Jeter has a reputation as a “clutch” player. While I don’t subscribe to that idea, it is amazing to see how consistent his postseason “season” was compared to his career average production. Below appears a table showing his 20-year average results against his postseason performance. The two lines produce nearly identical results. Derek Jeter wasn’t “clutch,” he was just a guy that played like Derek Jeter all the time.

CAREER AVERAGE630.3101732713136618.440
162 Game Pace743.2.31015.377.321.163.814.6%.3604.3