By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — It’s been nearly 13 full years since Derek Jeter launched himself into the seats at Yankee Stadium, leaving himself bloodied but in the process authoring an iconic moment in his Hall of Fame career.
But late Sunday night at Wrigley Field, Jeter may have been outdone — by the unlikeliest of players.
In the top of the 12th inning of a 4-4 tie game between the Cubs and — fittingly — the Yankees, left fielder Kyle Schwarber scampered toward the foul line to chase down a Chase Headley fly ball to shallow left. Schwarber kept his eyes fixed on the ball while briefly looking away to gauge his distance to the wall before masterfully reaching over the wall to make the catch and tumbling head over heels into the seats.
In many ways, Schwarber’s catch was even more impressive than Jeter’s famous play. For one, he had to actually reach into the stands to get his glove on the ball, whereas Jeter caught Trot Nixon’s popup in fair territory.
Schwarber also had the unpleasant welcoming of a concrete wall to greet his hips and thighs, which couldn’t have felt too good at full speed.
And, of course, Schwarber escaped unharmed and stayed in the game for the entirety of the 18-inning affair. Jeter, of course, required a hospital trip after smashing his face on the unforgiving seats.
(Here’s a question: Why has history forgotten the fact that Pokey Reese made a more impressive catch in the very same game as Derek Jeter’s face-first dive?
Here’s an answer: Life’s not fair. That’s why.)
But because of the similar results, and because of the location on the field, the comparisons were immediately drawn.
The Yankees eventually prevailed over the Cubs, but that catch (from a player whose defensive capabilities have always been questioned by those outside the Cubs organization) was one to remember.