NEW YORK, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- ESPN contributor and nerd-half of the legendary "Big Show" SportsCenter years Kieth Olbermann blasted baseball romantics Tuesday night for the seemingly endless doting on Derek Jeter as he prepares to retire.
"Contrary to what you have heard, Derek Jeter is not the greatest person in human history," says Olbermann.
"He did not invent baseball, he did not discover electricity and he is not the greatest person who has ever lived," Olbermann mocked, while conceding the Yankee captain is "an excellent, long-serving player -- but nowhere near an immortal."
In the face of no less than three separate retirement ceremonies this week, Olberman points out the Yankees shortstop only led the American League in any offensive category three times over the course of his career. Twice in hits and once in runs scored -- both metrics recorded and reported primarily for casual fans as over a decade ago front office executives and serious analysts concluded neither, especially runs scored, has much correlation with the actual ability of a baseball player.
While former Yankees catcher Jorge Posada said "for me, [Jeter]'s number one" on the list of all-time Yankee greats, Olberman points out Posada's opinion in no way reflects factual reality. In terms of wins above replacement -- a respected and proven statistic used throughout Major League front offices -- Jeter doesn't even rank in the top 10 Yankees of all time.
Babe Ruth, Micky Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Alex Rodriguez, Thruman Muson, Mike Mussina, Willie Randolph, Graig Nettles and Red Ruffing all had a higher WAR-per-season average than Jeter. Among his contemporaries around Major League Baseball, Albert Pujols, Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Adrian Beltre and even Larry Walker contributed more to their teams' successes over the course of their careers than zero-time-MVP-winner Derek Jeter contributed to the Yankees.
Olbermann diagnoses the Jeter worship by pointing out "you have to be at least 41 or 42 years old to have a clear memory of the New York Yankees winning the world series without Derek Jeter."
Rational explanations for irrational behavior aside, Olbermann notes "[Derek Jeter]'s not dead yet" and the godlike worship of an active player who's career was at-best barley above average is "creepy as hell."