By Jim Monaghan
When Derek Jeter takes the field for the New York Yankees in Houston this evening, it will mark the final Opening Day for the future Hall of Fame shortstop.
MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds, who played for eleven years in the Major Leagues, shared some thoughts on Derek Jeter with Jim Monaghan on the WDHA Morning Jolt. Here’s a portion of that interview.
Jim Monaghan – Harold, as D4A’s resident Red Sox fan, I’m of the opinion that Derek may have hung around a year too long. Do you think that’s accurate?
Harold Reynolds – Oh no…not at all. I got a chance to study him…watch him move…you know, last year was an aberration because he came back too early. Anybody’s who’s had a broken arm or a broken leg, you know when they take that thing out of the cast it’s skinny as all get out. And imagine he did that with his ankle and then ran out there and tried to play a baseball game. So he never lifted or did any of that. So he spent the off-season this year really rebuilding the muscle around that ankle. There’s no problem with the bone, or with the foot, the ankle…any of that. He got the muscle back…I watched him in Spring Training and he’s moving great. So I don’t worry about anything else; I think he’ll be fine.
JM – You mentioned recently on MLB Tonight that you thought Jeter’s moving better than you’ve seen in a few years.
HR – Yeah, you know the one thing that happens to guys with injuries, you’ve got to work lifting weights to build that area back and sometimes you come back even stronger. I’m not going to deny he’s 40, you know obviously he wasn’t moving like that when he was 20, but when you look at two years ago he had 200 hits before the injury. I don’t think he was missing a beat and at that point he was probably thinking, “I can probably play another 5 years.” The one year off for him really kind of made him think about his future. And also, the work…in talking with him the one thing that stood out with him was that this is the way you’re supposed to feel when you’re 39 trying to come back from an injury. It’s not that easy. I think he has a great perspective…his mind is clear…his body’s ready…I think he’ll have another big year.
JM – With Mariano Rivera having already retired, and Derek Jeter about to, if it hasn’t already happened by then will one of them be the first unanimous first-ballot inductee to the Baseball Hall of Fame?
HR – Boy, that’s a great question. I would have to lean towards no just because these guys (the baseball writers) have kept it a tradition. When Cal Ripken plays every game for every year for 10,000 years and puts up the Hall of Fame career he did…you look at Tony Gwynn, Greg Maddux in this last induction did not get 100%, so I would have to say no. You would think that maybe one of those guys might make it but there’s always going to be that one guy who wants to be the newsmaker – “I didn’t do it because I’m holding to tradition.”
JM – That’s some “tradition,” keeping a sure-fire Hall of Famer off your ballot. If it were to happen, though…if someone were to get in as a unanimous choice – for argument’s sake, let’s say it’s Rivera or Jeter – do you think it would open the floodgates to where these clowns finally say, “This guy deserves to be in…I’m voting for him?”
HR – You’ve got me laughing calling them “clowns” but you might be dead on. Yeah, I think that does open up the floodgates ’cause there’s going to be some players that are coming in the near future. Ken Griffey Jr. comes to mind for me; I can’t see how he’s not a first-ballot Hall of Famer 100%. So hopefully that trend gets changed and we’ll see some guys get in immediately.
Jim Monaghan can be heard Monday through Friday mornings on the WDHA Morning Jolt from 6-10AM & Sunday’s from 7-10AM with “All Mixed Up.” He’s also an instructor at Professional Baseball Instruction in Upper Saddle River. Follow him on twitter – @Monaghan21.