Quick. Think of the greatest leaders in our world today, and you’re likely to immediately ramble off responses that include Pope Francis, the Dalai Lama, Bill Clinton, and Roger Goodell.
Well, sorry, the czar of the NFL rightfully didn’t make the cut for Fortune’s recent list of “The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.” But if you’re among those who think Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter is a more worthy world leader than your average CEO spear-heading education reform, you’re in luck.
In the most ridiculous tribute to the shortstop since he announced that 2014 would be his final season (and mind you, it’s March, we haven’t seen anything yet), Fortune ranks Jeter as the 11th-greatest leader in the free world, two spots behind the Dalai Lama, but four spots behind Bono, from whom most of the world is simply looking for a decent album for the first time in almost 20 years.
Derek Jeter. Tom Brady is going to be ripped.
Here’s Fortune’s excuse reasoning for including Jeter:
As he begins his 20th and final season in pinstripes, Jeter remains the type of role-model player that even a Red Sox fan must grudgingly respect. It’s not the five World Series rings he’s won or his team record for career hits. In a steroid-tainted, reality-TV era, Jeter, the son of two Army veterans, continues to stand out because of his old-school approach: Never offer excuses or give less than maximum effort.
Neat. Why isn’t that hustling Grady Sizemore on the list as well? Jim Leyland preaches an old-school approach too. Where’s his spot?
Jeter’s inclusion isn’t the only reason that Fortune’s list is a head-scratcher, nor is he the only sports-related member. Johns Hopkins University swimming coach George Kennedy ranks 36th because he “sees not just each season, but each meet as a new chance to change things up.”
So did Pavlov’s dog.
In a tie at No. 20, we have Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, and University of South Carolina women’s coach Dawn Staley. “Three active coaches with very different styles stand out.” Oddly, there’s no mention of Mercer.
But Jeter at No. 11 even has to have fan-boy Yankee fans scratching their heads. That’s not to discount Jeter’s overwhelming charity work over the course of his professional career, but call me when he’s building churches in the Dominican Republic like Pedro Martinez. But here’s why No. 47, Juliana Rotich, made the list: “Nonprofit Ushahidi has helped seed the fast-growing East African tech industry and reimagined what technology can do. Witness its crowdsourced mapping platform, which helps communities track everything from violence to floods.”
Jeter can hit a curveball and is really good at doing rah-rah stuff.
If that’s all it takes, Dustin Pedroia will probably be on next year’s list.