New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter produced too many iconic moments to count, but we tried.
If you’ve ever spent any time on the internet (a bad place, don’t recommend it), you’ve likely run into haters and fans of lowlier franchises wasting their time debating and minimizing Derek Jeter’s merits. “What if Derek Jeter played for the Brewers? Huh? You ever think about that? I do constantly,” writes a random A’s fan, or an Orioles fan, or a Rangers fan. Or, as I like to call ’em, The Vanquished.
Because, you see, Derek Jeter didn’t play for the Brewers, the Reds, or any of the other teams in MLB. He was a New York Yankee, leading his team to the biggest stage annually, and delivering with frightening regularity, flicking the rest of the AL’s very cute playoff teams aside. Perhaps, if he had been a Brewer, Milwaukee would’ve won five Miller Lite-doused championships. These things just happened to Derek Jeter.
Sorry, correction: happened very much because of Derek Jeter.
Every New York child of the ’90s had a hero — mine was Paul O’Neill, because I guess, deep down, I admired someone fueled by a mean streak, and someone whose athletic talents seemed to come much less naturally, always with a piercing grunt. But every group needs a matinee idol, and it was Jeter’s job to both lead the PR efforts and perform. And man, oh man, he always balanced both spectacularly.
It’s a near-impossible task, but I’ve attempted to rank the snapshots of Jeter’s time-honored career that really embodied his sense of the moment.
(Honorable Mentions: The Red Sox Seats Catch, The Oakland A’s Seats Catch [similar, never mentioned!], The Bobby Jones HR, The 2000 All-Star Game, Each and Every Jump Throw [tied for sixth], The 2006 Shoulda-Been-MVP Season)