Sports Stars

Baseball

Derek Jeter

In 1996, Jeter became the first rookie in 34 years to start at shortstop for the Yankees (since Tom Tresh in 1962), won Rookie of the Year honors, and hit .361 for the postseason. In 1998, he finished third in American League MVP balloting as the Yankees won their second World Series in three years. Banking on his popularity, in the off-season he made an appearance on "Seinfeld" with teammate Bernie Williams.

In 1999, Milwaukee Brewers manager Phil Garner said, "I thought A-Rod was way ahead of Jeter, that he (Alex Rodriguez) was always going to be a better all-around player. But now Jeter has come on and caught him."

Jeter's patience at the plate and quick bat have created a quandary for pitchers. "You can throw him inside as much as you want, and he can still fist the ball off," said veteran reliever Jesse Orosco.

A Kalamzoo, Michigan native, Jeter comes from the Lou Gehrig branch of the Yankees' family tree. Shy and protective of his image, Jeter is accessible to fans and the press but keeps away from the back pages of the tabloids. Just as Babe Ruth had passed the torch to Gehrig, and Gehrig passed it to Joe DiMaggio, and DiMag to Mantle, so too was the Yankee torch passed from Don Mattingly (who retired after the 1995 season) to Jeter. Jeter quickly ran with it — winning the Rookie of the Year Award behind a .314 average in 157 games. The Yankees responded with their first World Series title in 19 years. They have been winning ever since.

Jeter slumped to .291 in 1997, but improved his power numbers and stole 23 bases in 159 games. In 1998, the Yankees were back in the World Series as their shortstop banged out 203 hits — his first of three straight 200-hit seasons. Jeter hit .353 in the 1998 World Series sweep of the San Diego Padres.

In 1999, it was another four-game sweep, this time at the expense of the Braves. Jeter hit .353 again, and .375 overall in the post-season. The 1999 season was one of Jeter's finest, as he paced the league in hits, finished second in batting, second in OBP, second in runs scored and triples, and fourth in total bases. There was more of the same in 2000, as the Yankees won their third straight World Series title. Jeter was named MVP of the five-game Fall Classic win over the Mets, hitting .409 with two homers. For the first time, in 2000, Jeter suffered an injury, missing a few weeks of the regular season with elbow problems. He continued his post-season success by hitting in his 14th straight World Series game.

In 2001, the Yankees were a year older, which meant Jeter was a year closer to his prime. Surrounded by veterans, Jeter and double play partner Alfonso Soriano helped spark the Bombers to their fourth straight Fall Classic — just the fifth time that had occurred in baseball history. In the ALDS against Oakland, the Yanks were pushed to a fifth game for the second straight season. Jeter made one of the greatest defensive plays in post-season history in Game Four, ranging past the first base line to re-direct an errant throw from the outfield. Jeter shoveled the ball to Jorge Posada, who tagged out Jeremy Giambi at the plate. The amazing heads-up play helped the Yankees avoid elimination, and they eventually defeated Oakland.

In the 2001 World Series, Jeter was held without a hit in Game One, stopping his 14-game World Series hitting streak (the third highest in history). The Yankees rallied for two dramatic wins in New York, and in Game Five Jeter's home run helped the team win. The Yankees were stretched to seven games by the Diamondbacks and lost a heartbreaking seventh game — just the second time Jeter's Yanks had been eliminated in 16 post-season series. In the "Jeter-Era" (through the 2003 ALDS) the Yankees had posted an amazing 59-27 record in the post-season, and 19-7 in the World Series.

Through 2003, Jeter owned a .317 lifetime batting average with 1,546 hits, 127 homers, and 178 Rstolen bases. Jeter had hit safely in 74 of 86 post-season games through the 2003 AL DivisionS ereis win over Minnesota.

Played For
New York Yankees (1995-)

Post-Season
1996 ALDS, 1996 ALCS, 1996 World Series, 1997 ALDS, 1998 ALDS, 1998 ALCS, 1998 World Series, 1999 ALDS, 1999 ALCS, 1999 World Series, 2000 ALDS, 2000 ALCS, 2000 World Series, 2001 ALDS, 2001 ALCS, 2001 World Series, 2002 ALDS, 2003 ALDS, 2003 ALCS

World Champion?
Yes, 1996, 1998-2000 Yankees

Ultimate Games (2-2)
1997 ALDS Game Five, 2000 ALDS Game Five, 2001 ALDS Game Five, 2001 World Series Game Seven

Honors
All-Star (5): 1998-2002; Rookie of the Year 1996, World Series MVP 2000, All-Star Game MVP 2001

Position
Shortstop

Major League Debut: May 29, 1995

Uniform #'s
#2 (1995-)

Best Season, 1999
In the sandwiched season of New York's threepeat, Jeter batted .349 with 24 homers, 102 RBI, 219 hits, and a .552 slugging percentage. He also swiped 19 bases and clubbed 37 doubles while fielding brilliantly. Jeter finished 6th in MVP voting.

FACTOID
When Jeter won the 2001 All-Star Game MVP award, he became the first Yankee so honored.

Subway Series Hero
In the 2000 World Series against the Mets, Jeter had nine hits in 22 at-bats (.409), including two doubles, a triple and two homers. His first-pitch homer off Bobby J. Jones set the tone for the Yankees' 3-2 victory in Game Four, and his one-out homer off Al Leiter created a 2-2 tie in the sixth inning of Game Five's 4-2 clincher. The homers supplied his two runs batted in for the Series and sparked his .864 slugging average. He also walked three times. Jeter's 19 total bases set a five-game Fall Classic record. He also tied five-game WS records with his nine hits and six runs scored.

FACTOID
In the Fall of 1992, Jeter briefly attended the University of Michigan, before leaving school in the Spring of 1993 to play for the Yankees' Class-A team in Tampa.

Replaced
A myriad of average shortstops in the Yankee organization in the mid-1990s.

Replaced By
Maybe Jeffrey Maier, the kid who caught his flyball in the 1996 AL Championship Series, turning an out into a controversial home run.

Best Strength as a Player
His instincts.

Largest Weakness as a Player
Range defensively.


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