If it makes Jeter and his minions feel better, he came in second to A-Rod the previous week, when the question was “Whom would you pick to build a team around?” Also, in a book published last year, “The Stark Truth: The Most Overrated and Underrated Players in Baseball History,” Jayson Stark of ESPN calls Jeter the second most underrated shortstop of all time, after Barry Larkin. (Phil Rizzuto, he says, is the most overrated.) We hear the usual blather about how “there are elements of greatness which numbers can’t quantify.” Unfortunately for Jeter - who has obviously been a wonderful postseason player - more things are measured statistically these days, even fielding range. The Baseball Prospectus 2008 sounds a warning: “For years, Jeter’s offense has made him a net positive at shortstop despite his defense. The second half of 2007, taken together with his age, suggests that the day of reckoning has finally arrived.” Only a raging Yankees fan (or someone who lives outside the New York area, as Stark does) could think that Derek Jeter is underrated.
My vote for overrated is Pete Rose, but then again, I'm with Bartlett Giamatti all the way on that subject.