Brian Cashman told listeners on ESPN Radio’s “The Mike Lupica Show” on Thursday that Derek Jeter should be the final captain in Yankees history.
“As far as I’m concerned, and I’m not the decision-maker on this, that captaincy should be retired with No. 2,” the Yankees general manager said. “I wouldn’t give up another captain’s title to anyone else.”
This is by no means a reflection of Jeter, who retired after last season following one of the greatest careers ever spent in pinstripes (and that’s saying something).
But think about this. What if Hall of Famer and former Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert had decreed that Lou Gehrig should be the last captain the franchise would ever see?
Had that been the case, Jeter never would have had the chance to captain the team for 11-plus seasons.
I get what Cash is saying — that Jeter was “so perfect” for the job that his act would be hard to follow. He’s right in that regard. And, let’s face it, no player on the current roster looks like they’ll earn unsolicited and widespread public support to be team captain any time soon.
In fact, it might be awhile before such a player arrives. The franchise had no captain after Gehrig’s term ended in 1939 until Thurman Munson received the honor in 1976. That skipped over the bulk of Joe DiMaggio’s career and the entirety of Mickey Mantle’s.
If it took another 37 years — heck, even if it was the same 64 years between Gehrig and Jeter — to find a Yankee who displays the same leadership qualities of his predecessors, so be it.
One day, a player again will earn the right to be a captain. Hopefully by then, no executive will be there to rule out the possibility.