Deep Thoughts: Derek Jeter's predecessors

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Mike Vaccaro has a column today about how the presence of Derek Jeter and his presumptive multi-year deal likely contributed to the Yankees missing out on Cuban free agent Adeiny Hechevarria, who seems to have signed with the Blue Jays. Vaccaro is realistic about it — it’s not like you let 19 year-old prospects dictate what you do with your still-elite Hall of Fame shortstop — it’s just one of them things, ya know?

The column did make me think, however, about the position for the Bombers. Specifically, I tried to think of who, exactly, was manning shortstop before Jeter took over full time in 1996. I recalled Tony Fernandez had the position in 1995, but before that it was a total blank.  I held out as long as a I could before consulting Baseball-Reference.com, but ultimately I couldn’t get past Fernandez.

Anyway, just for “oh wow” sake, here is the list of the guys who manned shortstop for the Yankees between the Bucky Dent and Derek Jeter eras, in reverse chronological order: Fernandez, Mike Gallego, Spike Owen, Andy Stankiewicz, Alvaro Espinoza — who actually held the job for three years! — Rafael Santana, Wayne Tolleson, Bob Meacham, Roy Smalley and then back to Dent.

There are new prospects every year. Anchors at shortstop are pretty damn rare.

A-Rod to host a reality show featuring broke ex-athletes

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 12: Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees answers question in a press conference after the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on August 12, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
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Alex Rodriguez’s transition into retirement has featured a serious move into the business world. He has gone back to school, worked seriously on investments and has started his own corporation. Yes, he’s set for life after making more money than any baseball player in history, but even if his bank account wasn’t fat, you get the sense that he’d be OK given what we’ve seen of his work ethic and savvy in recent years.

He’s going to be getting another paycheck soon, though. For hosting a reality show featuring athletes who are not in as good a financial shape as A-Rod is:

Interesting. Hopefully, like so many other reality shows featuring the formerly rich and famous, this one is not exploitative. Not gonna hold my breath because that’s what that genre is all about, unfortunately, but here’s hoping A-Rod can help some folks with this.

Great Moments in Not Understanding The Rules

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Bill Livingston of the Cleveland Plain Dealer is a Hall of Fame voter. In the past he has voted for players who used PEDs, but he’s never been totally happy with it, seeing the whole PED mess as a dilemma for voters.

On the one hand he doesn’t like voting for users and doesn’t like harming those who were clean by shifting votes away from them, but on the other hand, he doesn’t want to pretend history didn’t happen and that baseball hasn’t been filled with cheaters forever. What to do?

This year he decided to abstain altogether. A fair and noble act if one is as conflicted as Livingston happens to be. Except . . . he didn’t actually abstain:

Major league baseball will confer bronzed immortality on a few players Wednesday when the results of the national baseball writers’ balloting for the Hall of Fame will be announced.

I had a 2017 ballot. I returned it signed, but blank, with an explanatory note.

A blank ballot, signed and submitted, is not an abstention. It’s counted as a vote for no one. Each “no” vote increases the denominator in the calculation of whether or not a candidate has received 75% of the vote and has gained induction. An abstention, however, would not. So, in effect, Livingston has voted against all of the players on the ballot, both PED-tainted and clean, even though it appears that that was not his intention.

This is the second time in three years a Cleveland writer has had . . . issues with his Hall of Fame ballot. In the 2014-15 voting period, Paul Hoynes simply lost his ballot. Now Livingston misunderstood how to abstain.

I worry quite often that Ohio is gonna mess up a major election. I guess I’m just worrying about the wrong election.