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Although this is old news – it happened Saturday – I wanted to throw out a quick post about this.  Alex Rodriguez is finally being honored for a great postseason.  After struggling in the postseason most of his career, Rodriguez stepped up in the ’09 postseason, leading the Yankees with a .365 BA, 6 homers and 18 RBI in 15 games.  The 18 RBI tied a postseason record.

As a result of his play at the plate, the Yankees were able to capture their 27th world championship – and the first for A-Rod.   He was given the award at the annual New York Baseball Writers dinner.

I’m proud of the way A-Rod stepped up this season after being outed as a steroid user and his transformation into a good teammate and Yankee has been amazing.  After the postseason he had, he was most deserving of the award.

In the past, current Yankees Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera have won the Babe Ruth Award.

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Today the Daily News of NYC announced that shortstop and Yankee Captain Derek Jeter is their New Yorker of the Year.  Calling him a “prince in pinstripes,” the News writes that although Jeter did not do something spectacular like saving 100+ lives by landing a plane in the Hudson River, or become the first Hispanic appointed to the Supreme Court, he is Beloved in the city of New York and does amazing work for his charity.

Derek Jeter (center) celebrates the Yankees 2009 World Series Championship this past November with the rest of the Yankees team, including Jorge Posada (left), Mariano Rivera (right) and Andy Pettitte (behind)

In the article, the Daily News lauds his work with his charity, the Turn 2 Foundation, which helps disadvantaged children in Michigan and New York and his honor and integrity as an athlete during times when many of his fellow athletes are carrying guns into nightclubs (Plaxico Buress) or taking steroids or making big contract demands in the media.

The paper goes on to say:

_______________

This is a man who has the qualities adults admire and children can look up to. Somehow he combines enormous talent with hard work, riches with responsibility, fantastic success with confident modesty and intense competitiveness with true sportsmanship.

______________________

Although I have a lot of respect for the man,  I am not sure if Jeter should be the New Yorker of the Year.  In its simplest form, the story of Derek Jeter in 2009, is the story of a man who humbly and respectfully did his job well and used his influence and deep pockets to benefit charities.  Jeter is truly an exceptional man, one we will all remember for the rest of our lives and decades after he has left the limelight of Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

Instead, I feel the New Yorker of the Year award should be given to someone more deserving, such as Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic Justice to the Supreme Court of the United States; a woman who rose up from the projects in the Bronx, overcame the death of her father at age 9 and has persisted with diabetes her entire life.

But when it comes down to it, the Daily News wants to sell papers – and which paper would sell more?  Obviously, the one lauding Jeter, instead of Sotomayor or another.

That being said, all the congratulations to Mr Jeter.

Hat Tip to Lohud Yankees Blog:

The Sporting News announced this week that their 12/21 issue names Yankee closer Mariano Rivera as the Pro Athlete of the Year for 2009.  Here is the press release:

Record-setting closer Mariano Rivera, who helped lead the New York Yankees to their 27th World Series championship, is Sporting News’ 2009 Pro Athlete of the Year.
It’s the fourth such honor for the Yankees since Sporting News began handing out a year-end award In 1968. Rivera joins Ron Guidry (1978 winner) and Joe Torre (1996) as individual winners. The Yankees were honored as a team in 1999.
Rivera in 2009 became the second MLB pitcher to save 500 games, converted a personal-best 36 consecutive save opportunities and continued his postseason dominance. With five saves and one run allowed in 16 innings in the playoffs, he improved his postseason records for both saves (39) and ERA (0.74).
Rivera graces the cover of the new Sporting News Magazine. The 12/21 issue includes a Sporting News Conversation with the five-time World Series champion, conducted on a December morning in the kitchen of Rivera’s new suburban New York home.
Excerpts from Steve Greenberg’s interview with Rivera:
Rivera on continuing to pitch at age 40: “The minute I know that I don’t have it, I hang it up right there.”
Rivera on pitching for another team: “With all the respect that all the organizations deserve, it would be hard for me to consider playing for another team. If the opportunities are there, then you don’t know. But I believe the Lord has blessed me with the opportunity to play for one team.”
Rivera on pursuing the all-time saves record: “You know what? I’m OK with whatever happens. I’m not a guy who goes looking for numbers or chasing records.”
Rivera on one day losing his ability to throw the cutter: “I didn’t learn it by somebody teaching me. It came by the Lord. So it’s not within myself to lose it or keep it. It will be the Lord to decide when to take it away.”

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Rob Neyer put together a list of the 100 best baseball players of the decade, and quite a few Yankees are on this list.

  • Alex Rodriguez ranked as the second best player in the decade, behind only Albert Pujols.
  • Derek Jeter  came in at number four. Barry Bonds was between the two.
  • Jorge Posada comes in at number 15. He was the top ranked catcher on the list.
  • The Great Mariano Rivera checks in at number 24, the highest ranked reliever.
  • CC Sabathia was right behind him at number 25, and Johnny Damon not far off at number 32.
  • Mark Teixeira was named the 43rd best player of the decade despite not making his debut until 2003.
  • Reliable southpaw Andy Pettitte comes in right at the halfway mark, number 50.
  • Former Yanks: Abreu (16), Randy Johnson (18), Jason Giambi (19), Javy Vazquez (29), Gary Sheffield (34), Mike Mussina (35), Pudge Rodriguez (41), Roger Clemens (42).

That’s seven players on the Yanks 40-man roster that rank among the 50 best players of the last ten years. Including former players, 17 members of the decade’s 50 best players have worn pinstripes in that time.

…and is the first Yankee ever to be honored as the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year!

We all knew it was coming.  With the information leaked out on Saturday, Yankee fans had to wait for Monday for the confirmation, but it is official now with the magazine announcing that Jeets is the Man o’ the Year.

“It’s unbelievable. It was completely unexpected. It came out of the blue,” Jeter told the AP during a break in the photo shoot. “When I heard it, what can you say? It’s one of the greatest honors you can achieve in sports.”

Jeter had one of the best years of his career in 2009, leading the Yankees to their 27th World Series Championship and earned his fifth World Series ring.  Here are some other of the Captain’s accomplishments in 2009:

  • Hit .334, with 18 HR’s, 66 RBI and 30 steals.  He finished third in the AL MVP voting and earned the AL’s Silver Slugger Award for hitting as a shortstop.
  • Had a career-low 8 errors at shortstop and was the best statistical shortstop in MLB.  He was honored with the AL’s Gold Glove @ shortstop by his fellow players and managers.
  • Became the All-time Yankee leader in hits, by passing the Iron Horse, Lou Gehrig, in September.
  • Led all American League Players in All-Star Votes for the 2009 game in St. Louis.
  • Scored his 1,500 run, passed Mickey Mantle for all-time at bats as a Yankee (with over 8,103), and passed Bernie Williams and Babe Ruth with over 2,085 games played as a Yankee.
  • Earned $100,000 for his charity the Turn 2 Foundation, by out-hitting the Mets’ David Wright in a hitting challenge.  Delta Airlines made a $100,000 donation to Jeter’s charity and $50,000 to the charity of Wright’s choice.
  • Was honored as the Roberto Clemente Award for excellence on and off the field
  • Won the Hank Aaron Award as the American League’s top hitter

Last year’s winner was Michael Phelps, who had a record performance at the Beijing Olympics.  The last winner from baseball was the 2004 Boston Red Sox, who were honored as a group for breaking the 86 year streak of no championships in Boston.

Congrats to Jeets!  He is truly the most deserving sportsman in 2009!

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