SPANISH HARLEM – The Captain Derek Jeter was inducted into the Hall of Fame yesterday and it brought up many feelings. I was 16 years old when he made his debut as a highly-touted rookie – the New York Yankees‘ number one pick. At that time he was drafted there weren’t too many places on the internet to keep track of prospects but then I knew about Derek Jeter. There was something in the paper about the Yankees bringing him to Yankee Stadium soon after, I was hooked. I tried to keep track of him as best I could and even framed his Topps Draft Pick Card.
To say that I expected him to be great would be a lie. I just hoped the Yankees drafted a good player, maybe someone I could root for in the future. Little did I know that he would change my fan experience. Until he officially made the squad, bad Yankee teams were all I had known.
I had my greatest moment ever, at least to that point in my life, when Don Mattingly made the playoffs in 1995. People forget that Jeter was actually on the bench for that series against Seattle. He wasn’t on the active roster but they had brought him up when they expanded their roster and took him on the trip. Little did we know that gave him his first taste of playoff baseball.
He was hooked and the following season he was named the starting shortstop. For the next 19 years, all he did was win. It seemed that he was better in the playoffs. More clutch. When you think about the type of Hall of Fame career he had, that says a lot. Jeter wasn’t the strongest guy, the best shortstop or the best hitter in baseball but he was the one person you wanted at the plate if you needed a hit.
The Captain was respected, feared and sometimes hated. Definitely not in New York or with the females, though. Sometimes winning – the pressure – can wear on a person… yet he cherished it. Loved it. It was the main reason the Yankees won 5 rings, including 3 in a row. The reason he became Captain and the reason he was inducted in the Hall of Fame.
If anybody asks me “What did Jeter meant to you?” I would just say it was the winning. “He is a winner.”
Thank You, Derek Jeter.
That’s it for now, come back tomorrow for more content from a kicking and screaming Cam James.
Until Next Time…