Posted by Rick Laughland Posted on 9:54:00 PM with No comments
On Sunday, September 28th at Fenway Park in Boston Massachusetts will be the final Baseball game that Derek Jeter will play in his professional career. Having been one of the lucky fans of the many that supports the New York Yankees is truly an honor to see a man who has changed the shortstop position since Cal Ripken Jr.
Many, many times we have seen Jeter run out to the left side of the second base bag and track some tough balls to create spectacular double plays, running to the bag to be the middle man of those double plays, or that ever loving run to the lip of the left field grass while making a jump throw to first base that is either on the money or needs one quick hop to get that big out.
How about that great play in Oakland during the 2001 Playoffs where Shane Spencer overthrew the cutoff man and out of nowhere was Derek Jeter rushing to the ball just a few feet from the home plate circle and quickly flipped it to Jorge Posada who tagged out a standing up Jeremy Giambi at the plate.
How many times have we seen Derek Jeter in the late innings of most regular season and playoff games get to the plate and swing at pitches to drive the ball to the opposite field and bring in the tying, leading or tack on runs to make sure the ball game was well out of reach against the opposition.
Or those special moments when a Home Run is needed from Jeter as he swings for the fences and delivers a tremendous shot that either earned him his 3,000th career hit, or that game winning Game three World Series homer off of Byung Hyun Kim in extra innings and into the month of November.
Let’s also count all those moments against the hated rivals in the Boston Red Sox as majority of the time he thwarted the bean town bummers except for one season where they lost the three game lead in the American League Pennant in 2004. Of course we can’t forget that great moment inside old Yankee Stadium where he ran from his position and never broke stride, all for grabbing a ball landing foul and when he got it leapt into the stands and was a bit bloody on his face afterwards.
Then again how about that one World Series back in 2000 when New York faced New York and Jeter answered Mets fans at the start of Game four with that leadoff Solo Home Run that had the Yankees leading two games to one and of course won it in five.
What he has done on the field is plenty to speak of with so many great moments they are tough to really name them all no matter how small or how big, Jeter has done some amazing things in this era of baseball it’s really hard to keep track of them all. But off the field is even better, because he never once got into the newspapers for the wrong reasons. He has his Turn 2 foundation to help out children in need and he was always talking to the people of New York whenever he got the chance.
I had the opportunity to meet Jeter on the Upper East Side as he walked out of an apartment building while friends and I were heading back to the subway from dinner, I saw him and after he talked to a family of three he saw me and said hello. I shook his hand and had a quick conversation and then wished him a good night that made me feel good to see him acknowledging the fans of the Yankees.
In closing I will say this, Jeter as of right now is a part of Yankees history and it’s just another era of the club that has won 28 World Series with the last five under Jeter’s guidance. His numbers are not into the upper echelon like a Babe Ruth or a Ted Williams, but what he has done is come up in clutch situations and when he’s needed to come up big in the playoffs Jeter has done that. He’s made the players around him better and has the complete respect from every major league player in all the teams of baseball. From his first full season in 1996 with a Home Run at Progressive Field in Cleveland to start his journey all the way to now, I expect him to be unanimously voted in as a first ballot hall of famer into Cooperstown, NY.
Author: Daniel Feuerstein