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Derek Jeter

Search "Derek Jeter overrated" on Twitter right now. Oh no, actually don't do that. Holy crap, that's overwhelming.

The "overrated" Derek Jeter narrative started roughly in 2004, when the Yankees traded for Alex Rodriguez, the reigning MVP and two-time reigning Gold Glove winner, only to convert him into a third baseman. The Yankees struggled in the mid-2000s -- as in, they didn't make a World Series from 2003 all the way to 2008 -- and the criticism heightened. When Jeter limped to the end of his career, fans ridiculed the Yankees for letting him block potential youngsters while hogging the spotlight in the grandest going-away tour in sports history. The hot takes will resurface Sunday, when Jeter's No. 2 is retired at Yankee Stadium.

Calling Derek Jeter overrated is an emotional accusation. Derek Jeter is not the best baseball player of all time. But he is a shoo-in Hall of Famer and one of the most clutch players in MLB history. Actually, he's the most clutch player ever and it is not even close.

The case against Jeter is low-hanging fruit. Jeter only led the league in a skill category three times: runs (127) in 1998, hits (219) in 1999 and hits (216) in 2012. He never hit more than 24 home runs in a season, he had over 100 RBI just once, he struck out 100 times in a season nine times and he only won Gold Gloves because of name recognition (and exiling Alex Rodriguez to third base).

One could argue if Rodriguez never moved to third base, Jeter never would have been the best shortstop in the league during any season of his career. Even with Rodriguez's move, Miguel Tejada, Nomar Garciaparra and Troy Tulowitzki could say they were better than Jeter at points of his career. Omar Vizquel certainly put Jeter's glove to shame.

But these are forced arguments because outside of New York, Jeter was easy to hate. He was the All-American pretty boy of the Evil Empire. He never said anything wrong, played the game "the right way" and won. Jeter debuted at age 20 in 1995. He didn't miss the postseason until age 34, and then he proceeded to win his fifth World Series the next season.

Jeter could become the first unanimous selection to the National Baseball Hall of Fame even though he was not close to the best player of all time. There is a reason for this madness.

This is Jeter's résumé:

-- Career hits: 3,465 (sixth all time)
-- Career runs scored: 1,923 (11th all time)
-- Career Offensive WAR: 95.5 (20th all time)
-- Career total bases: 4,921 (23rd all time)
-- Career doubles: 544 (32nd all time)

Hold up, wait for this:

--Playoff hits: 200 (first all time)
--Playoff runs scored: 111 (first all time)
--Playoff total bases: 302 (first all time)
--Playoff doubles: 32 (first all time)
--Playoff triples: 5 (tied for first all time)
--Playoff games played: 158 (first all time)
--Playoff at-bats: 650 (first all time)
--Playoff home runs: 20 (third all time)
--Playoff RBI: 61 (fourth all time)
--Playoff stolen bases: 18 (sixth all time)

And we didn't even need to mention he has five rings and a World Series MVP.

Derek Jeter

Jeter retired three years ago, and it feels like the postseason has actually become even more important for determining an athlete's legacy. LeBron James has a different gear for the playoffs. Tom Brady was suspended four regular-season games last season and the Patriots didn't flinch. For the second straight year, Sidney Crosby's Penguins gave Alex Ovechkin's Capitals a few regular-season games only to break their hearts in the playoffs.

In the modern era -- since MLB introduced the Wild Card in 1994 -- Jeter is the unquestioned best postseason player. Of course there have been players who had better single playoffs, but none put together a 20-year postseason legacy like Jeter. How valuable is that? Let's blindly compare Jeter to other athletes:

Who is this NBA player?

--Career blocks: 3,020 (sixth all time)
--Career rebounds: 15,091 (seventh all time)
--Career PER: 24.2 (13th all time)
--Career points: 26,496 (17th all time)

Wait ...

--Playoff blocks: 568 (first all time)
--Playoff minutes: 9,370 (first all time)
--Playoff games: 251 (second all time)
--Playoff rebounds: 2,859 (third all time)
--Playoff points: 5,172 (sixth all time)

Who am I? Tim Duncan (five rings, three NBA Finals MVPs). Is Tim Duncan overrated?

Tim Duncan

How about this NFL player?

--Passer rating: 92.3 (13th all time)
--Career passes completed: 3,409 (16th all time)
--Career passing touchdowns: 273 (16th all time)
--Career passing yards: 40,551 (17th all time)

But then ...

--Playoff passing touchdowns: 45 (second all time)
--Playoff passing yards: 5,772 (fourth all time)
--Playoff passes completed: 460 (fourth all time)
--Playoff passer rating: 95.6 (sixth all time)

Who am I? Joe Montana, who was ranked as the No. 1 quarterback of all time by the NFL Network in 2010. He has also has four Super Bowl rings and three Super Bowl MVPs.

Joe Montana

OK, now the NHL:

--Career games for a defenseman: 1,564 (fifth all time)
--Career points for a defenseman: 1,142 (sixth all time)
--Career +/- for a defenseman: 450 (sixth all time)
--Career assists for a defenseman: 878 (sixth all time)
--Career goals for a defenseman: 264 (eighth all time)
--Career game-winning goals: 35 (12th all time)

And ...

--Playoff game-winning goals: 11 (first all time)
--Playoff games for a defenseman: 263 (second all time)
--Playoff points for a defenseman: 183 (second all time)
--Playoff goals for a defenseman: 54 (third all time)
--Playoff assists for a defenseman: 129 (third all time)
--Playoff +/- for a defenseman: 61 (third all time)

Who am I? Nicklas Lidstrom, one of the greatest regular-season defensemen of all time, is arguably the greatest ever when the playoffs are factored in. He won four Stanley Cups and a Conn Smythe Trophy.

Nicklas Lidstrom

Would Derek Jeter's legacy be what it is without his playoff success? Of course not. But the same can be said for other stars who built their reputation in the postseason. Derek Jeter just happened to play for the dark side, and that always fueled his haters.

On Sunday, in the hours before the Yankees retire "Numbah Twooo" (Bob Sheppard voice), ESPN will air hours of Jeter footage. The YES Network will go wall-to-wall with Jeter coverage. The Jordan Brand and New Era are already at it with the Jeter gear.

For Yankee haters, this may be intolerable. But that just comes from the market Jeter played in -- the pressure that he stared down for two decades and conquered, especially in the playoffs.

No, Derek Jeter is not the greatest baseball player of all time. But one of the greatest? For sure.

Was he the greatest player ever in the most important month for baseball? The stats can speak for that.

-- Follow Jeff Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband. Like Jeff Eisenband on Facebook.