The words, “There isn’t a person or player I would trade places with that’s playing now or ever,” pretty much sums up Derek Jeter‘s iconic career as THE New York Yankees shortstop.
Jeter said that back in 2017, addressing a sellout crowd, who came to get one last glimpse at the heart and soul of the ’90s Yankees Dynasty.
The Yankees put the final touches on The Book of Jeter. With a ceremony befitting of a King — but oozing with the incomparable modesty and class that Jeter conducted himself with throughout his 20-year career — the Yankees retired his number and put a plaque in Monument Park in his honor.
The Bronx Bombers also gave him framed replicas of both, plus a 14-karat white gold ring that lists his accomplishments.
So for the guy who never tried to be anyone else, his Hall of Fame induction today will be a motion picture film. Of course Jeter will be playing the leading role.
The “Captain” will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame today, having received 396 of 397 possible votes.
He won’t be returning to Yankees Stadium, but his Cooperstown induction will be a moment that celebrates the all-encompassing dopeness of America’s last great sports role model.
A kid from Michigan, with a Black dad and a white mom. A living, walking example of the perfect American hero.
In a time where narcissism and conceit is celebrated by our major media outlets, Jeter always let his play do the talking.
He spoke concisely, carefully and with the exception of his brief battle with Alex Rodriguez over Rodriguez’s disrespectful comments in a 2001 Esquire article — and a forced narrative about Yankees owner George Steinbrenner not being happy with Jeters vibrant nightlife — Jeter never had any controversy associated with his name.
Derek Jeter …No.2
No. 2 is the 21st number retired by the franchise and is the final single digit to be honored by the Yankees.
There’s no better player to round out that exclusive group of iconic jersey numbers.
Jeter is the all-time Yankees leader in numerous categories including hits (3465).
His hit total is sixth highest in MLB history and no other Yankee has reached the coveted 3,000- hit mark. Not Babe Ruth. Not Lou Gehrig. Not Mickey Mantle. Not Reggie Jackson.
They were all immortal players, just very different from Jeter.
He wasn’t a prolific power hitter. He was a savant at the art of playing baseball. A thorn in the side of the adversary, specializing in crucial moments. His low key persona did nothing to detract from his marketability. Jeter has always been the biggest draw in the game, despite being one of the worst interviews.
MLB’s Biggest Brand
At the time of his retirement, Stubhub’s best-selling regular-season game ever was Jeter’s final one at home on Sept. 25, 2014.
(That was also the site’s second top regular-season seller in any sport, trailing Kobe Bryant’s final home game for the Lakers.)
That data goes back to the founding of the site in 2000.
Jeter has always set the bar. Other players had more MVP’s and homers, but he was in a class and category by himself as a ball player.
Even in the ’90s, he was considered somewhat of a throwback player with his inside-out swing and a baseball savvy acquired more through intelligence and natural leadership qualities than athleticism.
He connected the new generation with the old. He’s one of the few who could do it.
Mr. November: Anti-PED
As far as being clutch, Jeter has few equals. Jeter always seemed to get the big hit and make the game-saving or series-shifting play. He was stoic and tempered in his display of emotion while in the heat of battle.
Every day was like going to the office and his pens and pencils sat in the same coffee container every day for two decades. In other words, he was consistent, predictable and incomparably efficient.
He was the anti-PED era role model as he never hit more than 24 homers playing in an era where drug-enhancement ruined the validity of stats and turned baseball into a video game.
He did, however, have more hits than anybody over a 10-year period during his reign and inspired more future ballers than we could ever quantify.
His character was as valuable to the game as his physical attributes. With all due respect to closer Mariano Rivera, the only unanimous Hall of Fame inductee in history, there’s no greater Yankees legend still living since Yogi Berra passed in 2015.
Derek Jeter Continues To Feed The Game
The sports world wondered in unison what Jeter would do once he retired. He answered those questions as emphatically as he would respond to a high heater thrown under his chin.
Captain Jeter took the lead in giving MLB a greater voice in the sports world. He rolled out the Players’ Tribune, where athletes deliver tell their personal perspectives directly to the people.
When Jeter became a minority owner and CEO of the Florida Marlins franchise, he joined exclusive company as a Black man in an ownership/leadership position in MLB.
Just another example of how Jeter transcends the game and inspires the next generation of baseball players to reach for the stars.
The 2020 Baseball Hall of Fame class will be one to remember because a player with Derek Jeter’s cultural impact will never be forgotten.