Shortstop Derek Jeter was one of the most popular players in Major League Baseball during his 20-year career with the New York Yankees. The 14-time all-star decided to step away from the game after the 2014 season ended, but his legacy and impact on the game still linger.
Jeter earned Rookie of the Year award in 1996 and five Gold Gloves awards, helped his team reach six World Series’ – five of which they won – and won the World Series MVP in 2000.
No. 2 has been viewed as one of baseball’s best since he broke onto the scene in 1995. While playing for the most loved and hated team in the MLB, Jeter has maintained a general respect from the public and, yes, even from Red Sox fans, for both his offensive and defensive abilities.
A career .310 hitter, Jeter was known for his clutch hitting ability at the plate. He led the league in hits twice and earned five Silver Slugger Awards during his career. His timely hitting was most apparent in Game 4 of the 2001 World Series when he hit a walk-off home run in the 10th inning, earning him the nickname, “Mr. November,” as it was the first time an MLB game had been played during the month of November.
The Captain’s most recent walk-off hit was a game-winning single in his final game at Yankee Stadium. A real storybook ending for him, his family and baseball fans everywhere.
Jeter’s defensive skills at short were flashy and awesome at times.
Though he wasn’t the greatest defensive shortstop during his playing years, his posting a dWAR of -9.7 over his career, when he made a great play, it was better than any other player in the league. His signature jump throw would earn him countless SportsCenter Top 10 spots over the years, and still remains a rarity among MLB shortstops.
Where Jeter really earned his respect among baseball fans was how he composed himself as a leader.
He knew his responsibility to his team and to the Yankee fans that adored him. He played hard and led by example, leaving it all out on the field for 20 years while wearing his title as team captain proudly since 2003.
He cares about problems that are bigger than his own and started a charity, the Turn 2 Foundation, in 1996. The organization helps teenagers avoid both drug and alcohol addiction and teaches them how to adopt healthier lifestyles.
He was never the typical, self-absorbed athlete that did everything for himself. Jeter did everything he did for the fans and those who loved him, and his legacy won’t be based on his playing ability, but on how he led his team by and represented his city.