On May 29, 1995, a young prospect named Derek Jeter made his Major League Baseball debut.
Jeter was called up to the New York Yankees‘ lineup after two injuries were suffered by players. While he didn’t make an immediate impact in his debut outing, it didn’t take long for Jeter to find a home.
He was named New York’s starting shortstop the following season, and was voted the American League Rookie of the Year for that season. He wouldn’t ever give up that title for the next 19 seasons until he retired in 2014.
Jeter closed his career with a .310 batting average, 3,465 hits, 260 home runs and 1,311 RBIs. He was a 14-time MLB All-Star and a five-time World Series Champion.
Now, the Yankees are set to honor the legendary player with Derek Jeter Day on May 14 at Yankee Stadium. The franchise will retire Jeter’s No. 2 during the ceremony, and he’s expected to be joined by the other members of the “Core Four,” Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada.
There’s been no shortage of spectacular Jeter moments and plays throughout his 20-year career. Here are some of his top highlights:
Jeter Hits a Walkoff Homer in the 2001 World Series
In Game 4 of the 2001 World Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Jeter had arguably one of his greatest moments.
He stepped into the batter’s box in the 10th inning with the game tied against Arizona’s Byung-Hyun Kim and worked the count full. On Kim’s ninth pitch — just after the clock at Yankee Stadium passed midnight — Jeter hammered the ball to deep right field, just clearing the wall to give the Yankees the victory. He pumped his fist in celebration as he ran around the basepaths, becoming “Mr. November.”
“I don’t really know if I can describe how it felt going around the bases,” Jeter said to ESPN. “But it feels like your floating. I remember it. I tried to enjoy it and look around but it happened so quickly, it was over with before you know it.”
Jeter Makes ‘The Flip’ to Save the Yankees
It was arguably one of the top defensive plays of
Jeter’s entire career.
The Yankees were in a 2-0 series hole against the Oakland Athletics in the 2011 AL Divisional Series, and needed to preserve a 1-0 lead in Game 3 to seize back momentum.
Jeter sprinted to the first baseline to grab a poor throw from right fielder Shane Spencer late in the game. With Oakland’s Jeremy Giambi running home, Jeter doesn’t hesitate to make the play.
On a full sprint with his momentum carrying him toward the dugout, Jeter flips the ball backhanded to Posada, who tags Giambi out at home just before he stepped on the plate.
The clutch defensive play helped the Yankees seal the win, and they would win the series two games later.
Jeter Flies Into the Stands to Catch a Ball Against Boston
There were no shortage of dramatic Jeter moments, especially on defense. The shortstop consistently laid it all on the line to help his club get the victory.
That was never more evident than on July 1, 2004, when Jeter dove into the stands at Yankee Stadium after catching a pop-up against arch-rival Boston.
The score was tied, 4-4, and Jeter pursued a pop-up all the way from shortstop position to shallow left field. His momentum carried him into the stands and left him bloodied. But he made the catch.
The play killed a Red Sox rally in the 12th inning and helped New York to victory. It won the game the next inning, 5-4.
Jeter Gets No. 3,000 With a Home Run
The anticipation was mounting at Yankee Stadium. When would Jeter get the 3,000th hit of his career, and how would he do it?
In typical Jeter fashion, he did it in the most dramatic way.
In the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on July 9, 2011, Jeter worked the count full against pitcher David Price. A hanging curveball gave Jeter the green light, and he made Price pay for it.
Jeter blasted the ball to left field and over the fence, giving him just the third homer of the season and the 3,000th hit of his career. He was greeted by an overjoyed Yankees team once he reached home plate.
Jeter Leads Off the Subway Series With a Homer On the 1st Pitch
The much-anticipated Subway Series, which pitted the New York Mets against the Yankees in the 2000 World Series, got off to a bang in Game 4 because of Jeter’s bat.
He stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the first and hammered a homer to left field in the very first pitch he saw. The hit stole whatever momentum the Mets had from winning the game prior, and helped give the Yankees the edge in the series.
The Yankees won Game 4, 3-2, and won the series 4-1.
Jeter Becomes the Yankees’ All-Time Hit Leader
Jeter made Yankees history on September 9, 2009 by collecting the 2,722 hit of his career, a single. The base hit pulled Jeter ahead of Lou Gehrig, and he became the franchise’s all-time hits leader.
Jeter’s Homer, Aided By a Fan, Ties the ALCS’ Game 1
During his Rookie of the Year season, Jeter contributed one of the best — and most controversial — moments in Yankees history. Batting .450 in the MLB Postseason, Jeter sent a long drive to right field in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series against the Baltimore Orioles. The ball looked as if it would be caught on the warning track by right fielder Tony Tarasco. But 11-year-old fan Jeffrey Maier reached above his outstretched glove to grab the ball and give Jeter a clutch homer that tied the game.
New York won the game and then won the series in five games.
Jeter Gives the Final Sendoff of Old Yankee Stadium
With the Yankees set to open their brand new ballpark in 2009, Jeter couldn’t help but remember the memories that were made at Old Yankee Stadium.
After the team’s final game at the old stadium in September 2008, Jeter grabbed a microphone and gave it one final, emotional sendoff.
The shortstop thanked what he called “the greatest fans in the world” before tipping his cap with the rest of his team and taking a jog around the field for the final time.
Jeter Delivers His Retirement Speech
Jeter announced before the season that the 2014 campaign — his 20th season — would be his last. As the club traveled around the nation on road trips, Jeter was often the focus of games, receiving standing ovations on occasion and parting gifts from opposing teams.
But he always felt at home at Yankee Stadium.
Prior to the team’s September 7 game, Jeter addressed the crowd by saying “I want to thank you for helping me feel like a kid for the last 20 years. In my opinion, I’ve had the greatest job in the world.”
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