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Derek Jeter Felt Alex Rodriguez Was 'Not a True Friend' After Public Disses

Adam WellsJuly 12, 2022

Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez were friends early in their Major League Baseball careers, but the two superstars eventually drifted apart.

In his new ESPN documentary series The Captain (h/t TMZ Sports), Jeter said the fracture in their relationship stemmed from comments Rodriguez made in a 2001 interview in Esquire magazine.

"He’s not a true friend, is how I felt," Jeter said. "Because I wouldn’t do it to a friend."

In the interview (h/t Bryan Gallagher and Alex Raskin of the Daily Mail), Rodriguez credited Jeter's teammates with the New York Yankees' run of winning four World Series titles in five years from 1996-2000:

"Jeter's been blessed with great talent around him. So he's never had to lead. He doesn't have to, he can just go and play and have fun, and hit second. I mean, you know, hitting second is totally different than hitting third or fourth in a lineup because you go into New York trying to stop Bernie [Williams] and [Paul] O'Neill and everybody. You never say, 'Don't let Derek beat you.' That's never your concern."

Much has been made about the dynamic between Jeter and Rodriguez over the course of their careers, particularly during their 10 seasons as teammates with the New York Yankees.

Rodriguez spent many years trying to downplay the issues between them before finally acknowledging things changed at some point in a 2007 interview with Tyler Kepner of the New York Times.

"We were best of friends about 10, 13 or 14 years ago, and we still get along well," Rodriguez said. "We have a good working relationship. I cheer very hard for him, and he cheers hard for me, and, more importantly, we're both trying to win a world championship. We'll leave it right there."

Jeter and Rodriguez came up through the minors around the same time. Jeter was selected No. 6 overall in the 1992 draft by the Yankees. Rodriguez was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1993 draft by the Seattle Mariners.

Rodriguez got to The Show first as an 18-year-old in 1994. Jeter got a cup of coffee in 1995. Both became full-time starters in the big leagues during the 1996 season.

Jeter won American League Rookie of the Year and helped the Yankees win the World Series in 1996. Rodriguez, who lost rookie eligibility in 1995, finished second in AL MVP voting after leading the league in doubles (54), batting average (.358) and total bases (379) during the 1996 campaign.

Both stars wound up being two of the best players of their generation. They both made the AL All-Star team 14 times. Rodriguez won AL MVP three times and won the 2009 World Series with New York.

Jeter is arguably the most beloved player from his era. He won five World Series titles, ranks sixth in MLB history with 3,465 hits, was named MVP of the 2000 World Series and received the second-highest percentage of Hall of Fame votes in history (99.74).

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