Cardinals: Was Albert Pujols really inferior to Derek Jeter?
By Greg Simons
Both players have achieved a great deal in their baseball careers, that’s obvious. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be having this debate. But evaluating the round numbers they’re reached and honors they’ve received is yet another way to compare them to determine which player truly is better. Let’s have another showdown.
3,000 hits: Jeter = yes, Pujols = yes
500 homers: Pujols = yes, Jeter = no
600 homers: Pujols = yes, Jeter = no
1,500 runs: Jeter = yes, Pujols = yes
2,000 RBI: Pujols = yes, Jeter = no
Jeter is sixth all time in hits, Pujols is 12th. Pujols is fifth all time in homers, Jeter is 216th. Jeter is 11th in runs scored, Pujols is 14th. Pujols is third in RBI, Jeter is 105th. In the categories Jeter leads, Pujols isn’t far behind. In those which Pujols leads, Jeter is nowhere to be found. Going by the big, round numbers, Pujols has a substantial advantage.
How about accolades?
MVPs: Pujols = 3, Jeter = 0
Top-10 MVP finishes: Pujols = 11, Jeter = 8
All-Star selections: Jeter = 14, Pujols = 10
Gold Gloves: Jeter = 5, Pujols = 2
Silver Sluggers: Pujols = 6, Jeter = 5
Rookie of the Year: Jeter = yes, Pujols = yes
World Series titles: Jeter = 5, Pujols = 2
Pujols finished in the top four in MVP voting each of his first six seasons, in the top 5 during 10 of his first 11 seasons, and in the top 10 every year he played for St. Louis. Jeter’s longest stretch in the top 10 was four consecutive seasons, and he finished 10th in two of those years.
All-Star voting favored Jeter, the big-market star. The combined number of precious metal awards favors Jeter, 10-8. Both players were chosen as their league’s top first-year player. And Jeter had better teammates more often, capturing three more championships.
But having better teammates really says nothing about the quality of these two players. The individual superiority of Pujols is demonstrated by those three MVPs, who twice came in second behind Barry Bonds.