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Just The Sports: Tracking Your Idol

Just The Sports

Monday, June 25, 2007

Tracking Your Idol

Most children who grow up playing sports latch onto a professional athlete of their favorite sport they respect and admire and whom they choose to emulate. The children play the same position as their idol, choose the same jersey number, even mimic their idol's physical movements on the field, and if all of their dreams come true they end up playing the same position as their idol on the professional level. Such has been the case for Colorado Rockie shortstop Troy Tulowitzki who has made nothing subtle out of his admiration for Derek Jeter that borders on obsession since Tulowitzki went so far as to buy all of his teammates bottles of Jeter's cologne, Driven. Fortunately for Tulowitzki, his idolatrous worship of Jeter has carried itself to the field.

Both Tulowitzki and Jeter made it to the major leagues at the age of twenty-one, but only played a handful of games during their first time with the major league team. Jeter played fifteen games and Tulowitzki played twenty-five games in the majors during their age twenty-one season. Counting last year's games and the games he has played so far this season, Tulowitzki has played ninety-five games as a major leaguer.

In order to gauge how well Tulowitzki has kept up with his idol, Jeter, I took Jeter's first ninety-five games and compared them to Tulowitzki and found that there were really no differences between the two data sets. Jeter hit .267 BA/.338 OBP/.371 SLG/.245 GPA and Tulowitzki has hit .265 BA/.340 OBP/.376 SLG/.247 GPA, as close to identical as you can get without being exactly the same. Since those first ninety-five games, Jeter has become a much better hitter average-wise so Tulowitzki does have his work cut out for him to keep up with his idol's career.

Defensively, Tulowitzki has far and away surpassed anything Jeter did in his first ninety-five games or really anything Jeter has ever accomplished on the field. What this advantage means for Tulowitzki is that he does not necessarily have to top Jeter's batting prowess to have a more positive impact for the Rockies than Jeter did for the Yankees.

As long as Tulowitzki does not get arrested for stalking Jeter, right now it looks as if he will have an equally successful career.



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