Friday, June 10, 2011

Derek & Alex & Thurman & Reggie

From "The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter"

Rodriguez? The magnitude of his talent, contract, stardom, and personality made him a natural threat. So Jeter was not beyond taking an occasional poke at him, as he did the time two female reporters who happened to be wearing pink shoes stopped at his locker.

Jeter mentioned the matching shoes, and when one of the reporters playfully asked him where his pink shoes were, Jeter said, “I don’t have any.” He then rolled his eyes toward A-Rod’s locker and joked, “He might.”

It was clear Jeter and Rodriguez needed a Kissinger-like mediator the way Reggie Jackson and Thurman Munson did. Back in the day, the simmering Jackson-Munson feud was settled — or tempered, anyway — when backup catcher Fran Healy and clubhouse attendant Ray Negron persuaded the two stars to meet inside a hotel restaurant in Detroit.

On arrival in the Bronx, Jackson had his own Esquire moment — he was quoted (erroneously, he swears) in Sport magazine as saying, “I’m the straw that stirs the drink. Maybe I should say me and Munson, but he can only stir it bad.”

Munson was just as furious with Jackson’s remarks as Jeter would be with A-Rod’s nearly a quarter century later, but the two eventually got past it and won a couple of championships together before Munson died in a plane crash.

“Thurman is Jeter and Reggie is Alex, and I’ve told Jeter that,” said Negron, who became an adviser to George Steinbrenner. “Jeter is more to himself like Thurman was, and Alex is more outgoing like Reggie.”

Jackson was among those who tried to improve relations between Jeter and A-Rod. He spoke to Rodriguez and Jeter separately, telling A-Rod about his own isolation in Munson’s and Billy Martin’s clubhouse, and advising Jeter on his responsibilities as a team leader.

“I spoke to him as a captain, not as Derek Jeter,” Jackson said. “I told him what I thought was needed, and I think he took pieces of what I said that he agreed with and didn’t take the pieces he disagreed with.

“I certainly hope Derek and Alex can win together like I did with Thurman. Alex has a good heart, but sometimes he doesn’t express himself well, and he tries to express himself too much. If he would say less and let his bat do the talking, no one can talk like him with a bat. But when he tries to say the right things, it just doesn’t work.”

from The Captain

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