Thank You, Derek Jeter

Now batting for the Yankees. Number 2, Derek Jeter. Number 2.

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The time has finally come for Derek Jeter to take his rightful place in Monument Park as the Yankees are set to retire Jeter’s #2 before tonight’s game.

When you’re a kid, you are always asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?” You’ll get answers like a firefighter, an astronaut, a police officer, a doctor, a basketball player. For me, it was simple: Shortstop for the New York Yankees. I wasn’t alone in thinking this because if you were a Yankee fan growing up in the late 90s – early 00s, everyone wanted to be like Derek.

Where do you even begin? There are so many facets to the aura of Derek Jeter that I guess the obvious place to start is on the baseball field. The inside-out swing of Mr. Jeter led to a career averages of .310, 260 HRs, and 1311 RBI. Derek is part of the 3000 hit club with 3465. He is the career leader for the Yankees in: hits, singles, doubles, stolen bases, HBPs, at-bats, and games played. Other achievements include AL Rookie of the Year (1996), 14-time All-Star, 5-time Gold Glove winner, 5-time Silver Slugger Award, 2-time AL Hank Aaron Award, and Roberto Clemente Award (2004).

Now that’s what I call a Hall of Fame resume. However, I feel like I’m missing something. Oh, that’s right. Derek is a Postseason God. He’s a 5-time world champion and the World Series MVP in 2000. Jeter’s 158 postseason game (1st all time and it’s not even close) is essentially a full season’s worth of work. He hit .308 with an .838 OPS, 200 hits, 302 total bases (1st all time for both and you guessed it, no one is close), 32 doubles, five triples, 20 homers, 61 RBI, 111 runs. There’s more records that he owns in the post season, but I think you get the point.

So now Jeter is a first ballot Hall of Famer, but we still haven’t dived into what made Derek Jeter one of the best baseball players of all-time: Mr. November. Captain Clutch. A Winner. It seemed like Jeter always came through in the biggest moments. His ability to slow the game down when the moment was at its biggest is something we may never see again. Need examples? I’m glad you asked!

Orioles fans cringe everywhere, but this is where the dynasty started.

Thank you Derek for dominating this series and making all of my Mets friends suffer in the 2nd grade.

This is my favorite play of all-time. Why the hell was Jeter on the first base line? WHY? HOW? This doesn’t make sense.

When the city needed a hero, the clock struck midnight, and Derek became Mr. November.

“He caught the ball and then ran 40 yards into the stands!!!!” Salty, salty Red Sox fans. I would LOVE to see you to try and make this play. My mom said it best. “Derek dove into the stands, got bloodied up, and was still the most handsome man in the stadium.” Can’t argue with that one.

I was in college for this one. Everyone in the room was on their feet, screaming at the top of their lungs. You couldn’t script this even if you tried. Special things happen when Derek Jeter is in the lineup in the Bronx.

Some people freeze in the clutch. Derek thrived and in New York, that’s what you have to do. If the moment is too big for you, the media will eat you up and run you out of the city. Jeter owned this city, but it was in such a unique and special way. Jeter was rarely, and I mean rarely, in the media for the wrong reasons. He was the perfect captain for the Yankees. He put all of the attention and recognition on his teammates and lead by example. When he did speak, he always knew what to say. He embodied the heart and spirit of New York. He was born to be a New York Yankee.

This is why this man was my childhood idol. He is still my favorite player to ever wear the pinstripes. His book, The Life You Imagine, changed my life. I saw how Jeter grew up and how hard he worked to get to where he is today. If I can work 1/10 of how hard Jeter worked, I might have a chance at succeeding in life.

Thank you, Derek. You have meant so much to me and the rest of my family that I’ll never be able to repay you for what you’ve done. There will never be another Derek Jeter and there never should be one. You were and still are the man. The Bronx will never be the same.

Farewell, Captain.

CBS

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