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Ken Davidoff on D&C: ‘Derek Jeter is the No. 3 Yankee of all-time’

07.16.14 at 10:29 am ET
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New York Post baseball columnist Ken Davidoff joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to discuss Derek Jeter‘s treatment at the All-Star Game and his standing among all-time Yankees greats. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Jeter went 2-for-2 in what was a celebration of his final All-Star Game on Tuesday night. The Yankees shortstop led off the game with a double off starting pitcher Adam Wainwright. Wainwright said afterward that he gave Jeter a pitch to hit out of respect, inspiring Davidoff to write a column saying that Wainwright should’ve covered up for Jeter when asked about it.

“My point was, it’s fine he gave him one to hit, he just shouldn’t have admitted to it because then it’s kind of like, ‘I was trying to help out the old man,’ ” Davidoff said.

When asked why Jeter deserved a grooved pitch, Davidoff said, “For the same reason Cal Ripken Jr. did 13 years ago, because when a legend, a future Hall of Famer, retires, because there’s no harm in grooving him a pitch so he looks good in his final moment on the national stage.”

Jeter scored one batter later and the American League went on to win 5-3 to earn home-field advantage in the World Series. Serving up a grooved pitch to Jeter on Tuesday night could prove consequential for the National League club in the World Series.

“I agree 100 percent,” Davidoff said, continuing to defend his argument by saying, “I don’t care about the National League. That’s my opinion. It’s a free country, isn’t it?

“If David Ortiz decides to announce his retirement in advance and he gets the same kind of love and farewell tour that Derek Jeter gets, and David Ortiz would deserve such a farewell tour, I would think he deserves a grooved pitch in the All-Star Game as well,” he said.

Davidoff said Jeter is the third-best Yankee of all-time, putting him behind Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle and ahead of Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio.

“Certainly if you’re going to compare Derek Jeter to Cal Ripken Jr., you’d say Cal was a superior player,” Davidoff said. “If you’re going to compare Derek Jeter to an in-his-prime Alex Rodriguez, when A-Rod played shortstop, A-Rod was a superior player.

“But if we’re talking about the value he brought to the shortstop position and the value he brought to the New York Yankees, Derek Jeter to me is the No. 3 Yankee of all-time and is probably top 40, top 50 baseball players of all-time.”

Davidoff’s comments sparked a debate amongst the guys on the show. John Dennis, Gerry Callahan and Kirk Minihane all argued that Gehrig and DiMaggio should be ranked higher than Jeter.

“Guys, what are you, 96 years old? Do you not understand the value of a position like shortstop?” Davidoff asked.

He added: “Joe DiMaggio played for 1936 to 1951, unfortunately not his fault, you’ve got World War II, he lost four years. So he played for 12 years. Derek Jeter played for 19 years plus a little of last year.”

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