By: Joe Auriemma
It’s June 26th and that can mean only one thing — it’s the captain’s
birthday. Derek Jeter is 35 years old today. Wow, where did the time
go? It seems like just yesterday, we saw this young, lanky talent get
his first Major League hit back on May 30, 1995, in the Kingdome. Even
in that 1995 season, we saw greatness, but we didn’t fully realize how
much he would mean to the franchise until the 1996 season when he won
the Rookie of the Year. Jeter and company created one of the most
magical seasons in the history of the Yankees. His maturity level was beyond his years, and his knack for hitting in the clutch provided a spark to a veteran squad. One of the memories that most people will never forget from that first season is of course the Jeffrey Maier home run against the Orioles in the ALCS.
Throughout his career, Jeter has given Yankees fans so many memories. He is still the only player in the Major League history to win both the All-Star Game MVP and the World Series MVP in the same season (2000). In that aforementioned World Series, the Subway Series against the Mets, Jeter lead off game four with a home run off of Bobby Jones that turned the tide in that game and the momentum in the series.
Who can forget the flip against the A’s that changed the momentum in that series? Grasping on to a 1-0 lead, that play not only gave the Yankees that game but led the charge to another two wins and a series victory.
The play that might be the most quintessentially “Jeter-ian” is the dive into the stands against the Red Sox. It was the classic Yankees-Red Sox showdown on July 1, 2004, and it was a defining moment in the career of the captain. The dive exemplified everything that Jeter is as a player, a person and a leader.
When Jeter eventually does retire, he certainly will go down as one of the greatest players to ever wear the Pinstripes. Shockingly, he is on pace to be the only Yankee to ever attain 3,000 hits in a Yankees uniform. So here’s to you Derek on your birthday.
Also, I’d like to send out a special Happy Birthday to my wife Kelly, who shares a birthday with the captain and just might be his biggest fan.
Derek Jeter’s Career Stats on his Birthday
Pretty good I would say!