Well hello there everybody! Welcome to This Week In Yankees Baseball.
On June 3, 2003, the Yankees did something they have arguably done only 15 times in their history, and have not done since.
That was the day that Derek Jeter was selected as captain. It proved as a wise choice, as Derek led the Yankees to five world series championships. It was an honor that he accepted with humility.
Other Yankees captains include Clark Griffith, Kid Elberfeld, Willie Keeler, Hal Chase, Frank Chance, Roger Peckinpaugh, Babe Ruth, Everett Scott, Lou Gehrig, Thurman Munson, Graig Nettles, Willie Randolph, Ron Guidry and Don Mattingly. The list itself is not consistent from source to source. But these are all of the names that appear. Officially, Jeter was number 11.
Regardless of the number, George Steinbrenner did not take the selection lightly. “I have always been very, very careful about giving such a responsibility to one of my players, but I can not think of a single player that I have ever had who is more deserving of this honor than Derek Jeter. He is a young man of great character and has shown great leadership qualities…,” Steinbrenner said according to Baseball Almanac.
And Jeter led by example. He was Rookie of The Year in 1996, a 14 time all star, the 2000 World Series MVP, a five-time Gold Glove winner and the Yankees all time hits leader.
Perhaps what sets Jeter apart is the recognition he has received from legends of other sports. “I love his work ethic. He has a great attitude. He has the qualities that separate superstars from everyday people, and a lot of it is attributable to his great family background,” Michael Jordan pointed out, also according to Baseball Almanac.
So it is fair to speculate if any player will ever reach the level of respect that Jeter reached. Perhaps the current Yankees would benefit from a true leader to take charge in the clubhouse. If so, who would the captain be?
But is a selection just for the sake of making one the right way to go? Most likely not. And if reaching Jeter’s level of respect and character is the criteria, will the Yankees ever have a captain again?