Derek Jeter was drafted by the New York Yankees in 1992 out of high school. Where in his senior year he batted .508 for the season, he also had college recruiters and pro scouts watching him as a youngster. The University of Michigan offered him a scholarship to play baseball. Spending his summers in New Jersey with his grandparents is where he got a chance to go to Yankees games and see his idol Outfielder Dave Winfield. He knew way back then that he wanted to be a player for the most storied franchise in the history of sports. Derek learned to play shortstop from his father who played the position at Fisk University.
Wearing the Yankees pinstripes is something that if you are a baseball player is the epitome of being a professional baseball player. When you think of some of the greatest to ever play the game, many NY Yankees come to mind Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson, Dave Winfield, and now the great Derek Jeter. He is the only Yankee to ever reach the 3000 hit plateau. What does that say for him as a baseball player for the NY Yankees? All the great Yankees of days gone by, he is the “ONLY” player to wear the pinstripes to reach that plateau. He is the pride of the NY Yankees. For 17 years he has worn the pinstripes and will retire in the pinstripes when he finally ends his Hall of Fame career.
Jeter has always been known as a player that does what it takes to win. I have seen him make plays by diving into the stands or taking on an opposing player at second base. He has never been afraid of having a collision with another player. Jeter is fearless on the baseball field. There is not a play that he will not try to make. He is the field general of his team. The team rallies around the things that Jeter does on the field. This year at age 37, he is playing the game like a kid again. He is hitting well, and has been seeing the ball well. He has never been considered a power hitter, but he is putting the ball in play all over the field. He is playing like the Derek Jeter of old. Many thought his career to be over last year, but like he has always done, he shows his critics what he is made of. There is no quit in him as a man or as a player. He continues to play the game because he still has many things to contribute to his younger teammates and the game of baseball.
Does he have anything left to prove to baseball? I say that he does not, but I do say that as long as he can play at the level he is playing now, he should continue to play. His list of accomplishments is a long one most notable is the five World Series titles. He is a 12 time All-Star, 5 time Gold-Glove winner, 4 time Silver Slugger award, AL Rookie of the Year 1996, All-Star game MVP 2000, World Series MVP 2000, he owns the Yankees career hits record 3,137 and counting and the Yankees career stolen base record, and too many other awards to his credit to list. He is batting .392 so far this season and if he stays healthy opposing teams will have a lot to worry about with his offensive production.
When Derek Jeter’s career is all said and done he could very well be the greatest player to ever wear the pinstripes. Those are big shoes to fill thinking back to all the greats who have worn a Yankees uniform. He is a humble player that has gone out and done his job in an outstanding fashion for only one team. The “Team” that is the New York Yankees. Derek Jeter, Cooperstown awaits you.
Mike Samuels is a writer for The Sports Blitz Network and can be contacted at MSamuels@ThePenaltyFlagBlog.com