Over the course of his 20-year career with the Yankees, Derek Jeter had as many memorable moments as any player in major league history. On Tuesday the Captain took his rightful place in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Somehow it wasn’t unanimous but Derek Jeter is now officially a Hall of Famer. Jeter was elected into Cooperstown alongside Rockies great Larry Walker, receiving 396 of 397 votes (99.7%). Despite falling just short of joining fellow Yankees legend Mariano Rivera as the only unanimous inductee in major league history Jeter now holds the honor of receiving the highest percentage of votes for any position player.
After being drafted sixth overall by the Yanks in 1992 Jeter went on to become a 14-time All-Star, a five-time gold glove winner and a five-time silver slugger winner. During the course of his Hall of Fame career in pinstripes, Derek led the Yankees to five World Championships and had 3,465 hits which put him sixth on the all-time list. He won the Rookie of the Year in 1996, both the All-Star Game and World Series MVP in 2000 and was the 2009 recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award.
He finished his career with a lifetime average of .310 with 260 HR, 1311 RBI and 1,923 runs scored. He’s the all-time postseason leader in hits with 200, doubles (32), runs (111) and games played (158). Overall he hit .308 in postseason play and .321 in seven World Series.
He was named the Captain of the Yankees on June 3rd of 2003 and held that title until the day he retired. Throughout the entirety of his career, he was a perfect role model and ambassador for the game on and off the field. Baseball today could use more players like Jeter because that will always be a part of his lasting legacy.
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In addition to all the numbers and accolades, Jeter was the face of baseball for the majority of his career and will go down as one of the most respected and famous ballplayers the game has ever seen. There was never any controversy attached to his name despite spending his entire career under the bright and pressure-packed lights of New York City.
He was the Joe Dimaggio and Mickey Mantle of his era and an inspiration to a generation of kids, including myself at one time. Jeter taught me and countless others to play the game the right way and that started with always running hard to first base no matter what. So many kids wanted to be like him and mimic his signature jump throw and wear the number two.
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Jeter had all the statistics necessary to cement himself a spot in Cooperstown but it’s the moments that made him a true baseball icon. He was as clutch as it gets and whenever the Yankees needed someone to come through when their backs were against the wall, much more often than not Jeter delivered. Even if it meant putting his body in danger he always did whatever it took to help his team win the game. Winning was all the mattered to Derek and he did so more than any other player in franchise history.
It’s often said that his career was like a Hollywood movie but I don’t think even some of the best screenwriters ever could’ve scripted a better beginning to end than Jeter did himself. There were players in history who were better and had more talent but again, I don’t think there’s ever been someone who’s been involved in more big moments than Jeter. And that wasn’t by accident.
It takes a special leader and player to come through in all those big spots as often as Jeter did but that’s all a credit to how hard he worked and prepared for every game and every possible situation. From “The Flip” to “Mr. November and “The Dive” to hit #3,000 (a home run), Jeter never ceased to amaze when the pressure was at its peak.
He lived for the big moments and all the way through his last game at Yankee Stadium he provided his fans with memories that will last forever. Thank you for everything Captain and welcome to Cooperstown.