A History Lesson For the Yankees

After the 1934 regular season, Jacob Ruppert, then Yankees owner, offered to make Babe Ruth the manager of the Yankees’ top minor-league team, the Newark Braves. Ruth’s wife and business manger advised Ruth to reject the offer, and he took their advice.

That would end his 15 year stint with the Yankees, during which he hit 659 home runs, and became possibly the most beloved Yankee of all-time. Splitting up with Ruth on bad terms was a bad move from a public relations stand-point, but the Yankees prevailed.

Bernie Williams, a fan-favorite, life-time Yankee, played 16 seasons in New York before his contract expired in 2006. He wanted to play in 2007, and even said he would accept a role as a backup outfielder. The Yankees offered him an invitation to Spring Training, but did not guarantee him a spot on the roster. Williams declined, and the Yankees once again broke up with a popular Yankee on bad terms. The Yankees, again, prevailed.

After the winning a championship in 2009, the Yankees had two more beloved players to resign. Hideki Matsui, the World Series MVP, and Johnny Damon, who was almost certainly going to be back, had messy negotiations with the Yankees. Neither returned, and the Yankees prevailed

The Yankees have won an astonishing 27 World Championships because they have one goal: winning. They never make decisions based on emotions, and they never resign players just to improve fan morale. Why? Because the Yankees know that the best way to make your fans happy is simple. All you have to do is win.

After the 2010 season, the Yankees are back where they have found themselves in prior decades. One of the most popular Yankees of all-time, Derek Jeter, is nearing the end of his career and is looking for a new contract.

The Yankees want to bring him back, and rightfully so. Jeter still has some years left in him, and can still contribute.

But Jeter and his agent have gone far enough to express their desire for a four, five, or even six-year deal. The Yankees, on the other hand, are geared more towards a three-year deal.

This is a perfect time for the Yankees to return to their fundamental practice that has helped them win more championships than any other team in history. Instead of backing down and making the emotional induced decision to keep Jeter around for as long as possible, the Yankees need to stick to their guns and do what they know is best for the future success on the team. I think we all know what that means.

Listen to Jess on What’s on Second: The Seamheads.com Radio Hour Monday nights at 9 p.m. ET. Follow him on Twitter @jesskcoleman, or send him an e-mail at [email protected].

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4 Responses to A History Lesson For the Yankees

  1. Jaremy says:

    Definitely good points, but keep in mind you're not quite comparing apples to apples. Jeter is still a certifiable lineup threat while Babe and Bernie were past their ability to offer significant contributions to the ballclub.

    I think the better comparison would be to Brett Favre, who will likely remain a Packer legend despite his deeparture for NY and Minnesota.

    In the case of Ruth and Williams, neither had the ability to continue as a catalyst for a team – the biggest concern will be if Jeter departs for another team and leads them to a championship where the Yankees fail. That victory could be detrimental to the Yankee fan base and would disenfranchise some fans – especially female fans who have ralllied around Jeter for years.

    That said, it's all about the right price. If Jeter signs to a team that gives him 6 years, fine – see ya. If he signs a 3-year deal elsewhere because the Yankees were too stingy to pony up an extra couple million, I think it's a problem.

    • Lou says:

      You wrote, In the Case of Ruth and Williams, neither has ghe ability to continue as a catalyst for the team. In 1934 Ruth put up the following line for the NY Yankees: .288/.448/.537 Thats an OPS of .985 and an OPS+ of 160. If Jeter had put up that kind of line last year we wouldn't be having these issues.

      • Jess says:

        Once again, I NEVER said that Jeter should retire. I made the argument that he does not deserve four, five, or six years. He can contribute for 2 or 3 more years, but not longer. By "sticking to their guns," I don't mean the Yankees shouldn't offer Jeter a contract, I mean they shouldn't give him an emotional induced, long-term deal.

  2. Now is the time for Jeter to truly show that he is the "captain" who leads by example. He should forget about a six-year deal and take three years. If he wants $20 million, I don't see the Yankees having much of a problem with that. He'll end up with more money and who knows; if he becomes a "renaissance" man for the next three seasons, the Yankees would surely re-sign him for 2014, and he could go year-by-year and maybe keep his salary.

    A-Rod's contract has everything to do with why Jeter's camp is prolonging these negotiations. Jeter should be careful of the perception he's creating of himself in trying to force the Yankees' hands.