Derek Jeter has millions of fans. In his career with the Yankees, he has won the World Series five times, been to the World Series seven times, and in 2000 he became the only player in the HISTORY of the MLB to win the All-Star MVP and World Series MVP in the same season.
Everyday, it seems, a professional athlete’s big secret makes it way onto ESPN and we never look at that player the same way again. Even on Jeter’s team there were nearly half a dozen players that were caught up in the steroids issue. We learned of Alex Rodriguez’s infidelity, his illegal poker games, and more of his infidelity. We look at players like Milton Bradley, Ron Artest, Patrick Kane and too many football players to count.
We remember Jeter for always calling his coach “Mr. Torre” and his boss “Mr. Steinbrenner.” We remember him for his simple fist pumps after wins. We revere Jeter for what we never hear about him off the field and all of his charitable contributions.
When I think of Jeter’s poise, I am reminded of Joe DiMaggio and how he never showed his emotions on the field. A single kick of the dirt on a long out to left field is his most memorable “outburst.” Jeter is in that class. When other players are throwing bats and helmets, Jeter is running out every ground ball like it’s his last game.
Jeter’s name was in the papers this off-season because of a possible engagement. An engagement? That’s the most we can dig up on Jeter?
Yes, yes it is.
Jeter lays everything on the line and represents why we all love baseball so much.
If you can’t remember why Jeter is so iconic in New York, just look to his speech he made after the last home game in the old Yankee Stadium.
“We just want to take this moment to salute you, the greatest fans in the world,” he said. Many players say this to their fans, but with Jeter I believe it. Every day, every game, he realizes how lucky he is to be a Yankee and lets us know it.
Maybe we don’t know Jeter as much as we normally like to know our players. Maybe we wish we could see his interests outside the diamond. Personally, I like that Jeter lets me believe he has no interests outside of baseball, and that baseball still does to him what it does to all of us.
That is how we know everything there is to know about the Yankee captain.