Derek Jeter hits 250th career home run

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Derek Jeter’s liner to left field in the fifth inning Friday off Franklin Morales was his 250th career home run. He moved into fifth place all-time among players who have played at least half of their games at shortstop:

1. Alex Rodriguez – 644
2. Cal Ripken Jr. – 431
3. Miguel Tejada – 304
4. Robin Yount – 251
5. Derek Jeter – 250
6. Jose Valentin – 249
7. Vern Stephens – 247
8. Nomar Garciaparra – 229
9. Barry Larkin – 198
10. Jay Bell – 195

Jeter will likely finish his career third on the that list, considering that A-Rod’s tenure at third base is set to overtake his time at shortstop next year.

Jeter also moved into a tie for ninth place on the Yankees’ all-time home run list:

1. Babe Ruth – 659
2. Mickey Mantle – 536
3. Lou Gehrig – 493
4. Joe DiMaggio – 361
5. Yogi Berra – 358
6. Alex Rodriguez – 299
7. Bernie Williams – 287
8. Jorge Posada – 275
9. Derek Jeter – 250
9. Graig Nettles – 250

The Yankees stopped playing Kate Smith’s version of “God Bless America”

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The Yankees have played “God Bless America” during the seventh inning stretch since 9/11. The version they play is the most famous version, recorded in 1939 by Kate Smith. As of today they will no longer be playing the Kate Smith version, however.

Why? The New York Daily News reports that it’s because “the Yankees were made aware of Smith’s history of potential racism.” Which is a rather interesting way of putting it, because there’s not much “potential” to this:

Smith was a famous singer before and during WWII who recorded the offensive jingle, “Pickaninny Heaven,” which she directed at “colored children” who should fantasize about an amazing place with “great big watermelons,” among other treats. She shot a video for that song that takes place in an orphanage for black children, and much of the imagery is startlingly racist. She also recorded, “That’s Why Darkies Were Born,” which included the lyrics, “Someone had to pick the cotton. … That’s why darkies were born.”

I’m guessing this information was available in some Kate Smith biography or is in the memory of some of her big fans who may still be alive, but it was news to the Yankees until recently and once they learned it they decided that going with a version of the song NOT sung by Kate Smith was better. Good call!

I’m sure someone will complain about this, but I feel like there are better hills to die on than “the Yankees should continue to play the racist lady’s version of the show tune that, despite what we think of it now, was never meant as an actual patriotic anthem.”

If you feel like dying on that hill, be my guest. But please, show your work.