- 03/10/2013, 06:14PM ET
Mrlns Fn said 03/10, 06:14 PM
Got this idea from an article I recently read on ESPN.com.
Anywho, the answer to this question is undoubtedly Mariano Rivera.
Some might think Kobe or Tim Duncan in the NBA, and those are both great answers.
Some might think Peyton or Brady in the NFL, and again, those are both great answers.
I would give an NHL analogy if I knew what I was talking about, but I don't so I'll skip that.
All great answers above but the only correct answer is Mo.
You see, every other current great athlete falls short of Mo's dominance.
Rivera is the greatest closer of all time, both in the regular season and in the postseason. There is nobody from history who was a greater closer, and there's nobody right now who has a prayer of taking Rivera's mantle.
Mo is, was, and will be the greatest closer ever.
He is the only current athlete in sports who can definitively be proclaimed as the GOAT at his position.
Mo desevres a unanimous HoF vote because he's better than anybody who has ever gone before him or come after.
No one else in sports can say that about themselves.
Mo deserves a unanimous vote more than anybody, and that case is closed.
Unless you open it.
williewilliejuan said 03/10, 07:10 PM
Mo's a great closer - probably the best closer of all time. But, therein lies the problem. Mo has played 18 seasons. In that time, he has pitched a grand total of 1219 innings - less than 68 innings/year, good for about 5% of the total innings played by his team in an average year. As good as Mo is at getting the final 3 outs of a game in which the Yankees have the lead, his role is too specialized to get the honor of most deserving of unanimous consideration.
That honor goes to his teammate, Derek Jeter. He has played on the same team for the same number of years as Mo. The difference is that in that time, Jeter has amassed 3304 hits from 11,895 plate appearances. He has been out on the field defensively for nearly 22,000 innings.
Because he's the Captain of the Yankees, his every move is scrutinized. Every AB, every defensive play, every gift basket to female companions can be front page news. Through it all, Jeter has proven himself to be an athlete beyond reproach, which is high praise given the steroid-fueled era in which he played.
As great as Mo has been, Jeter has been more important to the Yankees and more important to baseball.
Mrlns Fn said 03/11, 01:36 AM
Mo's definitely the greatest closer of all time. Between his regular season achievements and his postgame heroics, Rivera has sufficiently distanced himself from the field that we can definitively say he is the greatest closer ever.
That's a huge deal. Jeter is clearly a legend; he'll be remembered forever and his career as a Yankee is probably one of the most significant sports stories that I've witnessed from start to finish.
But he's not the greatest shortstop of all time, nor is he the most "blingy" shortstop even in Yankees history. Jeter's 5 World Series' rings make for a pretty crowded jewelry box but former Yankee shortstop Phil Rizzuto won 7 in the Bronx.
When discussing Jeter's all time greatness there will be a discussion. Guys like Rizzuto and certainly Honus Wagner will be brought up, and some of the argument against Jeter as SS GOAT is overwhelming and hard to ignore. Matter of fact nobody even tries arguing Jeter as the greatest SS of all time, or the greatest Yankee of all time, or the winningest Yankee of all time, or the winningest SS of all time...
Yet undisputedly, Mariano Rivera is the greatest closer of all time.
williewilliejuan said 03/11, 02:36 PM
The issue for Rivera isn't his performance; it's his role. He isn't necessarily the best pitcher of all time, or even the best reliever of all time. He's the best one-inning closer - a very specialized role that has only existed for about 25 years.
The pitcher with the most saves currently eligible for the HOF is Lee Smith, who had about 25% more saves than anyone else when he retired. Smith is not in the HOF. In fact, no player who has played exclusively as a one-inning closer is in the HOF. There are those who believe that the position is too specialized to merit inclusion. Like for those who play DH, there could be those who fail to vote for Mo merely because they don't respect the role he has played.
No such issue exists for Jeter. SS is one of the premier positions in the league. Jeter already holds the record for most hits as a SS. By the end of this season, he could easily be 5th or 6th on the all-time hits list. He already averages more hits per season than any other player in the 3,000 Club. In an era where so many of our heroes cheated, Jeter has played the game the way it was intended. Voters will line up to vote Jeter into the HOF.
Mrlns Fn said 03/11, 09:24 PM
There's no doubt that a shortstop plays a more constant role than a closer. Doesn't mean that the shortstop's role is BIGGER, however.
For one thing, Jeter's records for SS are nice but not amazing. Shortstop has traditionally been an offensive Bermuda Triangle. Sure, there was a couple-year-long streak which saw Nomar and A-Rod put up some big numers, but A)it was because of the juice, and B)those days are long gone. Who's baseball's top offensive SS? Tulo? Reyes? Shortstop is NOT a power position for offense and Jeter's achievements, while certainly respectable, aren't as significant as if they had come from another position.
Especially when you consider how bad Jeter was/is defensively... no range whatsoever.
Therein lies the rub. Mo had NO flaws. You CANNOT pick at his game.
Regardless of how much more time Jeter spent booting balls at SS than Mo did striking out hitters with game tying runs on base, it doesn't diminish Rivera's overall excellence.
Rivera had no shortcomings and he is clearly the positional GOAT.
Jeter had several shortcomings and is NOT the positional GOAT.
You're choosing Jeter's QUANTITY of innings; I'll keep Mo's QUALITY of innings.
williewilliejuan said 03/11, 11:33 PM
Merely being the best at your position is not an automatic bid into the HOF. Edgar Martinez is the consensus GOAT as a DH - he's not in. Ray Guy is the consensus GOAT as a punter - he's not in. The HOFs in the various sports recognize the best players in their sports, but not necessarily by position. Yes, Mo is the best modern closer in the 25 year history of the position, but it's still a very limited role. It's generally better to great in a broad role than greatest in a limited one.
Much of HOF voting is about politics. No one got in last time because of politics around the steroid era. Mo won't get a unanimous vote because there are those who hate that closers are rewarded for just getting the last three outs in a game - rightly or wrongly.
Jeter should get a unanimous vote because there's no reason not to vote for him. He's the most prolific-hitting shortstop in history. He's the face of an iconic franchise. His defense, while not stellar, was adequate. People will vote for him for him because he is one of the guys who gets pointed to as the guy who didn't cut corners. He's the guy who respected the game. The voters will respect him back.
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