It’s hard to believe that the only Yankee to have 3,000 hits in his career will turn 40 on Thursday. Yep, Derek Jeter will turn 40 years old, but if you think his age bothers him, you’d be wrong.
“I don’t look at my age.” Jeter told the New York Daily News. “Birthdays don’t faze me. I never set it as a goal or anything, but I’m happy I’ve been able to play for a long time.”
Jeter knows there aren’t many players in the Major Leagues that are older than him these days, but he did list a few: LaTroy Hawkins, Raul Ibanez, Jason Giambi and Jeter’s fellow teammate Ichiro Suzuki. Ichiro turned 40 last year, but he says he doesn’t think about it as he comes to the field to play every day.
“There are a lot of 25-year-olds that look like 40-year-olds, you know?” Ichiro said through his interpreter. “If there are 40-year-olds that play like they’re 25, that can happen, too. I only go off what I know, what I think and what I’m capable of doing. For me, playing right now is a given. It’s not even a question.”
In sports when you turn a certain age, you’re too “old” for the sport. In baseball it could be 40, in the NBA and NFL it could be 35-37 and when you’re playing tennis, it could be as low as 30. Jeter believes the idea that you’re “old” at a certain age in a sport is silly.
“Everyone in the world of sports says you’re old when you’re 40,” Jeter said. “When it comes to every other profession in life, you’re young. Everyone is so quick to say how old someone is, but I like to keep things in perspective. I’d like to think I have a long life to live.
“People have this perception that your life is about to end because you’re an athlete turning 40. In tennis, you turn 30 and your life is over with. Come on, man. I just never paid attention to it.”
Whether Derek Jeter is old or not, he can still celebrate his 40th birthday in style–the Yankees have the day-off on Thursday.
“Yeah, that’s nice,” Jeter said. “I put in a request every year to the league office.”