There’s no question that New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter will be a hall-of-famer after he retires following the 2014 MLB season. With five World Series rings, 13 all-star selections, and five Gold Glove Awards, he has also broken franchise records in career hits, stolen bases, games played, and at-bats. The man is truly one of the greatest players to ever wear the Yankees pin stripes.
Throughout Jeter’s 19-year career there have been many memorable moments. Here are just six of them.
1. The “Jeffery Maher” Home Run
In one of the most controversial yet memorable baseball moments in recent history, Jeter made his name as a clutch player in the 1996 World Series. In game one, the Yanks were down 4-3 when Jeter hit a deep fly ball to right field. 12-year old fan Jeffery Maher was sitting in the right field seats and clearly reached over the fence to snag the ball, giving New York a home run. Baltimore Orioles right fielder Tony Torasco protested, but the call wasn’t changed. The homer tied the contest and helped the Yankees to go on and win Game 1, eventually taking the World Series title.
2. The “Flip” Play
Another incredible play that Jeter pulled off in his career was the amazing “flip” throw in game 3 of the 2001 ALDS against the Oakland Athletics when he threw out Jeremy Giambi at home plate. The play was important because it allowed the Yankees to keep their 1-0 lead and pull off the victory. They eventually made it to the World Series, where they lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Regardless, the play lives on in sports history as one of the best ever.
3. His 3000th Hit
During one of Jeter’s poorest seasons statistically in 2011, he started the season with a bad slump. And it got even worse for him when he landed on the disabled list in June with a calf injury. With little hope of making a difference that year, Derek beat the odds by rehabbing and going on a big hitting fest. He had a .331 average over the next 314 at-bats. And by the time July 9 came around, “the captain” once again silenced his critics by collecting his 3000th hit in a 5-for-5 performance against the Tampa Bay Rays.
4. Becoming Mr. November
Following the 9/11 attacks in 2001, the start of the MLB postseason was delayed. On October 31, the Yankees found themselves down 2-games-to-1 in the World Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. After trailing in most of game 4, New York tied up the contest in the ninth inning with a Tino Martinez 2-run homerun. By the time the bottom of the tenth came around, the clock struck midnight, making it the first time an MLB game had been played in the month of November. At almost that exact moment, Jeter was at bat and was behind in the count 0-2 with 2 outs. But he came through once again with a walk-off homer that tied the series for New York. As a result, Jeter’s clutch hit earned him the nickname “Mr. November.”
5. The Yankees Hits Record
On September 11, 2009, Derek Jeter got his 2,722nd hit to pass the great Lou Gehrig and become the New York Yankees all-time hits leader. At the end of the season, Jeter won his fifth World Series title, becoming the player with the most titles since Yogi Berra retired in 1965. Derek enters his final season with 3,316 hits, only three behind Paul Molitor for eighth place on the all-time MLB hits list. He is also still in contention to pass Carl Yastrzemski (3,419) and Honus Wagner (3,420).
6. First career hit
Before he made it to the record books, Derek Jeter got his first career hit on April 30, 1995 against the Seattle Mariners. 3,315 hits later, he’s now tenth all-time on MLB’s career list. Back in the day, there were times when George Steinbrenner had thoughts of bringing in other players and sending Jeter back to the minors. Little did he know then that the young player would become one of the greatest Yankees in history.