Is Derek Jeter popular in New York?

MLB: Hall of Famer Derek Jeter - A man for special moments

Derek Jeter was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was the face of the glorious New York Yankees for over two decades and made for countless great moments - on and off the pitch. And even after his career, he still makes his mark on the sport.

"I know that there are a lot of people who have a lot more talent than me - across my career and not just now. But I can honestly say that nobody has played harder than me. Maybe as hard, but I think not that anyone gave more. I've always respected the game and always played as hard as possible. And I've done all of this here in New York, which I think is a lot more difficult than anywhere else. And I'm happy about that. "

- Derek Jeter after his last game at Yankee Stadium in September 2014.

Even then it was clear to everyone that the legendary shortstop of the New York Yankees would be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2020. Only the final percentage was still open, after all, before Jeter's long-time companion Mariano Rivera, no one had managed to be elected to Cooperstown with 100 percent of the votes in 2019. Jeter ultimately got 99.7 percent - only one journalist did not consider him worthy of his voice.

If you want to describe Jeter's path to the Hall of Fame, you can't avoid listing his numerous career highlights. Above all the five World Series Championships that he won with the New York Yankees. But his five Gold Glove Awards are also remarkable, even if modern analytics freaks run away screaming at the thought of them. His five Silver Slugger Awards, on the other hand, are out of the question, nor is his World Series MVP, the All-Star MVP - with 14 selections - or his award for Rookie of the Year 1996.

But more than that, Jeter stood for sustainability and the really big moments.

A very big one was of course the above-mentioned speech on the field of the Yankee Stadium after his personal final. Shortly before that, he had given the Yankees victory in an ultimately meaningless game against the Baltimore Orioles with his patented swing towards Right Field and thus shook Yankee Stadium.

Derek Jeter shaped the last few years of the old Yankee Stadium

It was also Jeter who shaped the last few years at the old Yankee Stadium like no other.

Be it his heroic "Mr. November" homerun in the 2001 World Series - which was postponed so far after September 11th that games were played for the first time in November - his diving jump after a foul ball into the stands against the Red Sox 2003, whereupon he looked like a battered boxer or that speech with which he said goodbye to the "House that Ruth built" in his well-known cool way.

This list can go on and on, with so many highlights Jeter has accumulated in his 20 years in MLB.

And yet: Jeter's career was in a way mapped out. If not through extraordinary talent, then at least through irresistible will. Already in elementary school he wrote in an essay that he wanted to become a baseball player. And in his high school yearbook in Kalamazoo, Michigan, his classmates voted him the most likely student to become the next shortstop for the New York Yankees.

Derek Jeter: Numbers of a Career

World Series title5
World Series MVP1
Gold Glove Awards5
Silver Slugger Awards5
MLB games2747
Home runs260

The fact that Derek Sanderson Jeter even got the chance to slip on the glorious pinstripes was ultimately due to a momentous (wrong) decision.

The Houston Astros, who had the first pick overall in the draft in 1992, ignored the recommendation of one of their scouts, Hal Newhouser, himself a Hall-of-Famer for the Detroit Tigers. They drew Phil Nevin instead. And since the other four teams preferred other players over the Yankees, Jeter fell into the lap of the Yankees in a manner of 6th position. Newhouser then dropped and ended his baseball career entirely.

Jeter became the ultimate Yankee. His attitude, his external image, simply everything embodied the Pinstripes perfectly. You could always rely on him when an early hit was needed or when an out was needed by jump-twist-throw or the legendary flip in the Playofds in Oakland.

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Derek Jeter: media darling in the Big Apple

In addition, he was always considered a media darling in the Big Apple, especially because he always made time for reporters. Both in good times and when things don't go well. The fact that he always spoke, but relatively rarely actually said anything, was not really offended by anybody.

His attitude towards the game was always corresponding, especially in the playoffs. In an interview with Elite Sports NY he once said of his success in the postseason: "I was never afraid of failure, that was the most important thing." He added: "Everyone has failed at some point before, so I was never afraid of it."

That postseason was a big part of Jeter's career. From 1996 to 2014 he only missed the playoffs in 2008, 2013 and 2014. It was not until the end of 2013 before Jeter was active for the first time in his career in a game that was no longer about anything.

He was always very popular with manager Joe Torre, who always saw Jeter as his right hand. He later had a similar relationship with Joe Girardi. Jeter was by no means a loudspeaker, but when he said something in the cabin, everyone listened. He was the leader of the troop. It was almost logical that the "boss", long-time team owner George M. Steinbrenner III, made him captain of the team for the 2003 season. An honor that has not been bestowed on any player since Don Mattingly until 1995.

However, Jeter was not only popular in the media because of his athletic achievements. Off the field, too, it has always enjoyed great popularity. Over the years, he has been said to have had numerous tussles with top models, singers and actresses. The "highlights" include names like Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Biel, Jessica Alba, Mariah Carey or Minka Kelly. In the end, it was swimsuit model Hannah Davis who got a ring from him. The couple have two children.

Derek Jeter: all-time hits leader of the New York Yankees

If you want to break down Jeter's career to just one achievement, then it is certainly his 3465 hits. Not because it ranks 6th on the all-time list. And actually not because he is the first Yankee to have managed more than 3000 hits in pinstripes - not even Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle or Joe DiMaggio succeeded.

3465 hits are a number that stands for longevity. Anyone who puts down so many hits must have endured it at the highest level for a very long time.

Of course, he was rewarded for this in 2017 with his own plaque in Monument Park of the Yankee Stadium. In addition, the number 2, the last theoretically available single-digit jersey number of the Yankees until then, will no longer be awarded.

Jeter himself doesn't go into too much detail when it comes to his greatest achievement. For him, simply playing for 20 years in pinstripes is a "dream come true. It's the only thing I've ever wanted. I'm blessed with it."

The statement is not entirely correct, because what he also wanted was to have his own baseball team. And he succeeded in doing that too. Since 2018, he owns five percent of the Miami Marlins, of which he is also CEO. Jeter is also co-founder of the "Players' Tribune", the website that presents stories from the perspective of the player.

While the "Tribune" has meanwhile been sold to the media giant Minute Media, the Marlins are still at the beginning of a change that will last for a few years. But tedium has never been Jeter's problem.