New York Yankees: Countdown to Opening Day #2
New York Yankees baseball is now just two days away. Two days! There are very few guys that can call themselves the face of a franchise. For the Yankees in the late 1990s and throughout the 2000s, it was no other than the Captain himself. Derek Jeter was the leading figure of the most recent Yankee dynasty. His number two in pinstripes will soon become the last single digit number to be retired by the New York Yankees.
Jeter was drafted out of high school in 1992 by the Yankees. He made his major league debut in 1995, won the Rookie of the Year Award in 1996, and never looked back. In his first full season, he hit .314 with 10 homers, 104 runs scored, and 78 RBI. Jeter’s first of many heroic moments came in the 1996 ALCS. With the Yankees trailing in the 8th, Jeter drove the ball to right field, which was brought into the stands by a young fan, tying the game. He batted .361 throughout the 1996 postseason and helped the Yankees win their first championship since 1978. He received all 28 first-place votes for Rookie of the Year and was selected as the fifth unanimous choice in history.
In 1998, Jeter was selected to his first All-Star game, and put together the best season of his career. He led the league with 127 runs, batting .324, and was the centerpiece on one of the greatest teams of all time. The Yankees defeated the Padres in the World Series, and Jeter finished third in the AL MVP voting.
Throughout his career, Jeter was considered one of the best hitting shortstops in the game. He hit over .300 12 times and collected over 200 hits eight times. From 2006 to 2009, and again in 2012, Jeter collected five Silver Slugger awards at shortstop.
Much like every other Yankee legend, Jeter excelled in the playoffs. The Yankees made the playoffs in 17 of Jeter’s 20 seasons, which showed just how valuable he was to the team. The “Jeffrey Maier” homer in 1996 was just the start. In the 1998 World Series, the Captain batted .353 en route to his second ring. A year later he batted .455, .350, and .353 in the ALDS, ALCS, and World Series respectively. In the 2000 World Series, he recorded two homers, a triple, and two doubles, and batted .409. The Yankees would, of course, win the infamous Subway World Series. Jeter was named World Series MVP for his performance.
The list of “Jeter Moments” goes on and on. He had two more incredible World Series performances in 2001 and 2009, and earned the nicknames “Mr. November and “Captain Clutch.” Jeter’s Yankee legacy ranks right up there with some of the all-time greats. He is the Yankees all-time leader in hits, doubles, games played and stolen bases. The Captain has five World Series rings, is a five-time Gold Glover, and a 14-time All-Star. Of course, Jeter was the captain of the New York Yankees from 2003 to 2014.
Derek Jeter is a future Hall of Famer, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he was elected on his first ballot. At the Stadium, Derek Jeter Night is scheduled for May 14 against the Astros. The Captain will be honored with a plaque in Memorial Park, and his number two in pinstripes will be retired.