Derek Jeter is the newest member of the 3,000 hit club. Like it or not, this achievement ensures that he is one of the greatest players in the history of the game and he’s headed to Cooperstown.It’s hard to imagine watching baseball without hearing Derek Jeter’s name several hundred times during a season. He has been the icon of one the MLB’s most famous franchises for nearly two decades. However, the days where he isn’t on a professional baseball team aren’t too far down the road.
At the very least, Jeter does have a couple of years left, but little left to accomplish. What exactly has he accomplished over the course of his career? You’re about to find out.
On June 26th, 1974, Derek Sanderson Jeter was born to parents Dr. Sanderson Charles Jeter and Dorothy Jeter in Pequannock, New Jersey. Derek's father is African-American and his mother is of Irish/German descent. Dr. Jeter played shortstop on his college baseball team.
When Derek was only four, the Jeter's moved away from their North Arlington, New Jersey home and settled in Kalamazoo, Michigan. A year after moving to Michigan, the Jeter's had another child, a girl named Sharlee.
Derek and his sister would visit their grandparents who still lived in New Jersey during summers to watch Yankees games. This is where his rabid fanhood started.
Dr. Jeter did play baseball at an advanced level, but he wasn't the main reason his son picked up a baseball bat. His boyhood hero and eventual Hall-of-Famer Dave Winfield provided the spark to ignite the baseball fuelled flame in Derek's pinstriped soul.
Derek rewrote the record books at Kalamazaoo Central High School. When his senior season concluded in 1992, Jeter received several major high school baseball awards. Among them were the 1992 High School Player of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association, and the 1992 Gatorade High School Player of the Year Award.
Throughout this entire time, Jeter's love for the Yankees never relented. He wrote papers and created art projects about how he longed to play shortstop for New York.
Hal Newhouser is a Hall-of-Fame pitcher widely believed to be the best pitcher of the World War II years. He later became a respected scout that worked for several teams for several years after he retired. While working for the Houston Astros in 1992, Newhouser scouted Jeter aggressively. Houston had the top pick in the '92 draft and Newhouser wanted Jeter's name to be announced first.
Whatever Newhouser said to Houston's front office didn't work. They passed on Jeter in the draft and elected to select Phil Nevin. This infuriated Newhouser so much that he resigned almost immediately.
This turned out to be quite fortuitous for Jeter as his favourite team selected him with the sixth pick of the draft.
Jeter spent four years in the minors. His first minor league campaign was nothing to write home about as he hit only .210 for the entire season. In 1993, his bat improved, but he had some major issues with the glove and he committed 56 errors.
1994 was the year Derek put it all together. Between time playing at the Single-A, Double-A, and Triple-A level, Jeter hit .344, five home runs, 68 RBIs, and stole 50 bases. Baseball America gave Jeter the coveted Minor League Player of the Year Award upon the conclusion of that season.
Derek made his Major League debut on May 29, 1995, but it proved only to be a cup of coffee and Jeter spent the rest of 1995 in the minors. 1996, however, was a different story.
Before the 1996 season even started, Joe Torre declared that Derek Jeter would be starting shortstop for the New York Yankees. Torre's decision to go with Jeter over the then four-time All-Star shortstop Tony Fernandez seemed a bit crazy to some outsiders, but that talk pretty much ceased after Jeter hit an opening day home run.
The 1996 regular season ended with Jeter hitting .314, 10 HR, 78 RBIs and a Rookie of the Year award.
The Jeffrey Maier incident is an under appreciated moment in Derek Jeter's ascension to becoming a household name.
In the 1996 American League Championship Series, the Yankees took on the Baltimore Orioles. In Game 1, during the bottom of the eighth inning of a 4-3 game that the Yankees were on the losing end of, Jeter hit a fly ball to deep right field at Yankee Stadium. Orioles outfielder Tony Torasco lined himself up to make the catch, but the ball carried just a tad bit further. Just when Torasco was about to make the grab, a 12-year-old boy named Jeffrey Maier reached his glove over the wall and deflected the ball into the stands. Right field umpire Richie Garcia determined the hit to be a home run instead of fan interference and the game was tied. The Yankees went on to win the game in extra innings.
Although the play was subject to a large amount of controversy, Jeter did technically 'deliver' in the clutch and the media coverage associated with the incident made Jeter's name part of the public lexicon. The Yankees won the series four games to one.
Derek did not play like a rookie in the 1996 playoffs. Along with that controversial home run, Jeter hit .361 and scored 12 runs during the post season. His play helped the Yankees get to their first World Series title since 1978, and their 23rd world championship overall.
Jeter's sophomore season in the big leagues was not subject to slump like so many flash-in-the-pan rookies before him. His 1997 numbers nearly mirrored his 1996 stat line. Jeter hit .291, clubbed 10 home runs, knocked in 70 runs, and stole 23 bases. The Yankees made the playoffs once again, but lost to the Cleveland Indians in the Division Series.
The 1998 season is when Jeter cemented himself as a premier Major League shortstop. His regular season numbers were impressive: .324 batting average, 19 home runs, 84 RBIs, and his 127 runs scored led the American League. Jeter finished third in the MVP voting, made his first All-Star team, and the Yankees won 114 games that season en route to their second World Series title in three years.
Jeter struggled a bit in the first two rounds of the playoffs, but he found his swing in the World Series where he hit .353.
After their sweep of the San Diego Padres in the 1998, Jeter knew he had to bring the thunder in order to properly follow that season up. That's exactly what he did.
Jeter set his career highs in all the major offensive categories in 1999. His 219 hits were the most in MLB, and his .349 average, 24 homers, and 102 RBIs helped break the top 10 in MVP voting once again.
The Yankees made it to the World Series for the second consecutive year in 1999 to take on the Braves. He hit .353 for the October Classic (yes, again) and the Yankees swept their NL counterpart out of the World Series (yep, also again).
The numbers for Jeter in 2000 were a slight drop-off from his 1999 figures, but it wasn't a season to sneeze at, especially in the batting average department where he hit an impressive .339. Derek hit a home run during the 2000 All-Star Game which was the first time a Yankee hit a long ball during the Midsummer Classic since Yogi Berra did it in 1959. He won the ASG MVP for his performance.
The Yankees faced off against the Mets in the 2000 World Series known as the 'Subway Series.' Jeter's performance out shined everyone else on the field. He hit a stellar .409 over those five games, with two home runs to boot. It would end up being Jeter's last World Series title for nine years, but the streak stopped with him earning a World Series MVP award.
Jeter is only player in MLB history to win the All-Star Game MVP and the World Series MVP within the same season.
Jeter hit .311, 21 homers, and 74 RBIs during the 2001 regular season. He was elected to the AL All-Star team and finished 10th in the AL MVP voting.
Game 3 of the 2001 ALDS between the Yankees and the Oakland Athletics was host to one of the five greatest plays in baseball history. Guess who was at the centre of it?
It was the seventh inning of 1-0 game being led by the Yankees. Jeremy Giambi was standing on first when A's outfielder Terrence Long hit a potential game tying double off of Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina. Yankees right fielder Shane Spencer dug the ball out but threw the ball back in wildly missing both cut-off men. As the ball was making it's way down the first base line erratically, Derek Jeter ran out of nowhere to cut the ball off.
With his momentum going away from the play, Jeter flipped the ball to catcher Jorge Posada just before Giambi crossed the plate. Posada tagged Giambi on the leg and the tying run didn't score.
The Yankees were down 2-0 in the ALDS and facing elimination, but Jeter's play turned around the series. They defeated the A's three games to two, won the ALCS, and made it to the World Series once again.
9/11 delayed the start to the MLB playoffs, and November baseball was on the schedule for the first time ever.
The Diamondbacks and Yankees played Game 4 of the 2001 World Series on October 31st. The game ended up going into extra innings, and when the clock struck midnight at Yankee Stadium, the scoreboard read 'Welcome To November Baseball.' Not too long after that, Jeter got a pitch he could handle from Arizona closer Byung-Hyun Kim and hit it into the right field stands for a walk-off home run. A fan in the stands then held up a sign that said 'Mr. November,' a play on Yankees legend Reggie Jackson's 'Mr. October' nickname. Mr. November ended up sticking.
The Yankees ended up losing the World Series, but the 2001 postseason wasn't short on great Jeter moments.
2002 was another solid season for Jeter where he hit .297, sent eighteen balls into the stands, and drove home 70-five base runner. His team was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.
Jeter's 2003 season didn't get off to a good start. On opening day, he collided with Toronto Blue Jays catcher Ken Huckaby at first base and dislocated his left shoulder. Jeter hadn't yet ever been placed on the disabled list in his entire career, but he missed 36 games while re-cooperating from the injury. After coming back, he ended up hitting .325 for the season, three points shy of winning the American League batting title.
On June 3rd, 2003, Derek Jeter was officially named captain of the New York Yankees, a ranking he has held ever since then.
When the 2004 season started out, it appeared that Jeter's decline was starting to begin. For the first two months of the season, Jeter hit under .200. By the time June hit, so did Jeter. Derek turned around his season and any rumours of his demise were greatly exaggerated. At seasons end, he was hitting .292 and had 23 home runs. He also set a career high in doubles with 44 of them.
During the July 1st, 2004 game against the Boston Red Sox, Derek Jeter made a terrific play on a pop-up into shallow left field from Boston right fielder Trot Nixon. After making the over-the-shoulder catch, Jeter dove head first into the stands at Yankee Stadium since he couldn't stop his movement in time. The play resulted in a lacerated face and a few bruises, and Jeter was taken out of the game. This particular play ended the inning and the Yankees won the game in extra innings.
2004 didn't end well for Jeter and the Yankees as they squandered a 3-0 ALCS lead to the hated Red Sox. However, Jeter did win his first career Gold Glove.
Jeter led the majors in plate appearances in 2005 with 752. He added 19 home runs, 70 RBIs to go along with his .309 average. Jeter also won his second consecutive Gold Glove.
The 2006 season was another one of Jeter's best. His .343 batting average was good enough for second in the AL. His 118 runs scored were also good enough for second best. Jeter just missed out on winning his first AL MVP award losing out to Minnesota's Justin Morneau in a tight ballot.
The following season netted numbers of .322, 12 homers, and 73 runs knocked in. It was his sixth season of 200 hits or more.
Derek Jeter was starting to get to an advanced age for a short stop by the time 2008 rolled around. At the age of 34, Jeter saw a large drop-off in his slugging percentage which ended up being at a then-career low of .408. The rest of his numbers weren't terrible though and Jeter was elected to his ninth All-Star Game.
Since Jeter had performed at a high level for many years, it was only a matter of time before some major records were taken over in his name. On September 14, 2008, off of Tampa Bay Rays starter David Price, Jeter tied Lou Gehrig for most hits ever at Yankee Stadium with 1,269. On September 16th, Jeter broke Gerhig's 69-year-old record.
2009 was likely Jeter's last exceptionally good season. A .334 average, 18 homers, 66 RBIs, 30 stolen bases and 212 hits got him another top three MVP voting result. He also ended up getting his tenth All-Star selection, his fourth consecutive Silver Slugger Award, and fourth career Gold Glove.
August 16th, 2009 was the day that Luis Aparicio's most hits for a shortstop record fell to Jeter. A double down the right-field line against the Seattle Mariners pushed Derek's career hits mark to 2,675.
Lou Gerhig (not Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, or Mickey Mantle) had more hits than any other New York Yankee in history. That was until September 11th, 2009 when Derek Jeter smacked his 2,722nd career hit. From this point on, Jeter has been secured in his position as one of the greatest New York Yankees in all of history.
A 35-year-old Derek Jeter didn't look like a baseball player past his prime when his Yankees defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2009 World Series. In fact, Jeter was one of the best players out there throughout the series. He was able to find a way to hit at a .407 clip and scored five runs. Time will tell if this was Jeter's last career ring.
2010 was a real struggle for Jeets. He only hit .270, and his slugging percentage was at a practically non-existent .370 for the year. His 67 RBIs was the second lowest total of his career. He was elected to 11th All-Star Game despite those numbers, and he won his fifth career Gold Glove after committing only six errors.
2011 hasn't gone much better, either. Through July 7th, 2011, Jeter is hitting only .258 and has a woeful on base percentage of .322. If those numbers hold up, they would be a career lows by wide margins. Regardless, he was still voted the starting shortstop for the American League All-Star team, but he ended up backing out to rest a calf injury.
At 2:00pm exactly on July 9th, 2011, Derek Jeter broke into the 3,000 hit club in resounding fashion. In the third inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Jeter hit a deep home run into the left field stands. The hit was off of Rays pitcher David Price, the same pitcher who gave up Jeter's hit that made him the all-time hit leader at the original Yankee Stadium.
He is the first Yankee to get all 3,000 hits in their pinstriped uniform. How else would he have done it?
It appears that Derek Jeter has accomplished most everything he could have ever wanted to accomplish at the Major League level. There are few resumes better than his.
His storied career is likely to come to a close within the next few seasons, but when he hangs up his cleats for good, baseball fans can bet the farm that they will see Captain Clutch at the podium of Cooperstown five years after he decides to call it a career.
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