Derek Jeter, also known as Mr. November, The Captain, or Captain Clutch, was drafted by the New York Yankees in 1992. He was the sixth pick in the first round of the amateur draft that year. Jeter was drafted straight from high school to the Yankees’ minor league Class A team in Tampa. Captain Clutch began his baseball career poorly, committing 21 errors in only 58 games. He improved between 1992 and 1994 earning Most Outstanding Major League Prospect in 1993 and Minor League Player of the Year in 1994. Derek Jeter was on his way to becoming part of an elite group and making baseball history.
The New York Yankees made Jeter their starting shortstop in 1996. He was named the American League Rookie of the Year with a batting average of .314 and 78 RBIs. He helped the Yankees make history when they won the World Series in three back-to-back years: 1998 against the San Diego Padres, 1999 against the Atlanta Braves and in 2000 against the New York Mets. This was the first time any team had done this since 1974. During the 2000 season Derek Jeter was named MVP during both the All-Star game and the World Series, proving his continued worth to the organization.
Jeter did not stop. In 2004, 2005 and 2006 he earned the American League Gold Glove award. This is given to the best shortstop in the league. In addition, in 2006 he won the Hank Aaron Award and the Silver Slugger Award for best overall hitter and best offense at a position, respectively. He finished second for another MVP award (this time for the American League) during the same year. Jeter made MLB history in 2009 when he recorded his 2,674th career hit. He broke the previous record for most hits by a shortstop. He ended that season with another World Series victory. This time the Yankees beat the Philadelphia Phillies.
Another milestone was reached, and records broken, when Jeter hit his 3,000th career hit on July 9, 2011. He was only the 28th player to achieve this number.
This season marks Derek Jeter’s final year in pinstripes. He is retiring from baseball after 20 years. At the start of this season he had played just over 2600 games. More amazing than the number of games or years is that all were played as a New York Yankee. This puts Derek Jeter in an elite group with others who have all played in 2000 or more games with the same team since 1882.
Jeter is part of a group that includes Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Cal Ripken and Bernie Williams. Including Jeter, four of these players wore pinstripes with the Yankee’s organization. There are only 35 other players on this list. It is not solely up to the player as to what team they play on, which is why it is remarkable to play for one organization over the span of a 20-year career.
As of February 27, 2014 Jeter’s 2,602 games played put him at number 10 on the list of most games played with one team. At this point, in the season, he has played 83 games. With 79 games left, he could move his position to number eight, right behind Al Kaline who played 2,834 games during his years with Detroit.
Jeter’s abilities at shortstop and at bat along with his positive demeanor have kept him in pinstripes for 20 years. Staying with the Yankees has also put Derek Jeter in an elite group with 35 other great franchise players.
Commentary by Sara Kourtsounis