Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Derek Jeter: Ballplayer Who Branded “RE2PECT”

Yankees Legend Retires    (photo:

By Marissa Grieco

Derek Jeter was one of the most legendary people to ever play the game of baseball.  It is so crazy to have to refer in the past tense when it comes to talking about Derek Jeter playing baseball.  He was someone that absolutely everyone admired and respected; even if you weren’t a Yankee fan.

Born on June 26, 1974 in Pequannock, New Jersey, Jeter is 6’3 and weighs 195 pounds.  He was drafted  in 1992 and played four seasons in minor league baseball, making  his major league baseball debut on May 29, 1995.  He became a legendary shortstop whom the Yankees and Yankee fans will sorely miss.

Mr. November; Captain Clutch; how could any Yankee fan forget how he acquired the nickname “Mr. November.”  In case you don’t recall, here is what happened:  After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Major League Baseball decided to move the games back a week with the possibility that some games would be played in November.  Shortly after midnight, November baseball happened and Jeter stepped up to the plate.  It was the 10th inning and the game was tied.  Jeter blasted a walk-off home-run in game 4 of the World Series.  The cameraman then showed a fan holding a sign that said “Mr. November” and the nickname stuck.

At the age of 40, Jeter ended his 20-year career with the New York Yankees.  He ended his last home game with something that most people would call a “picture perfect” win.

“As he has done so many times over the past two decades, Jeter jumped on a first-pitch fastball and with that instantly recognizable inside-out swing slapped the ball hard on the ground into right field to score the winning run in a dramatic 6-5 New York Yankees victory over the Baltimore Orioles,” reported ESPN.  This was an absolutely incredible way to end your last game of your career at Yankee Stadium with thousands of die hard Yankee fans cheering you on. 

In recollection of his final home game, Jeter said, "I almost started crying driving here today.  I think I've done a pretty good job of controlling my emotions throughout the course of my career. I have them, I try to hide them, I try to trick myself and convince myself that I'm not feeling those particular emotions.  It's been getting more and more difficult these last few weeks, but today I wasn't able to do it," ESPN aired to the nation.

If you watched Jeter’s last home game, you could just see the emotions that were clearly so built up inside of him which he tried so hard to hide.  On that night I think every Yankee fan who grew up watching Derek Jeter play baseball at shortstop tried to compose their emotions and failed.  Even when Mariano Rivera retired the season prior to Jeter, there was not a dry eye in the stadium because these men meant so much to their fans,  no one was able to compose themselves.

Derek Jeter ended his career with 3,465 hits ,according to  Jeter’s statistics are absolutely incredible.  He ended his career with an average of .309, 260 home runs, 1,311 RBI’s, 358 stolen bases, and an on-base percentage of .377.  Jeter was also the type of person who never did anything to create a negative image for himself and that’s why he was so loved by millions of people.

Derek Jeter is the only shortstop that many young adults have ever seen play in that position for the Yankees.  I know that it is difficult for me to picture anyone else in that position for the New York Yankees.  Being a die-hard Yankee fan, I don’t know how it wouldn’t feel strange not having any members of the core four playing for the Yankees this upcoming season.

Derek Jeter has been one of the most admired baseball players of his time by many baseball enthusiasts around America.  He is a great motivator and while being interviewed about the 2014 All-Star game he said something that really resonated with me.  He said “I firmly believe that it doesn’t take any talent to play hard.  You play for 3 hours a day, you have 4 or 5 at bats. Why can’t you play hard?”  He continued, “There’s always going to be somebody better, more talented than you but there’s no reason someone should out work you or play harder.”

It is simple to understand why Derek Jeter was so idolized by millions of people for his entire baseball career.

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Marissa Grieco is a Communication Arts student at St. Thomas Aquinas College with a goal of working as a sports broadcaster.

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