Pop Quiz time: what comes to your mind when you hear the name “Derek Jeter?” If some of your answers included:
1) The flip play against the Oakland Athletics
2) Diving into the stands against the Boston Red Sox
3) Becoming Mr. November
4) His 3,000th hit being a home run, almost as if Hollywood scripted it.
5) The Jeffery Maier catch
6) The Captain OR
7) Being a 13-time All Star
Then congratulations, you passed. Derek Jeter has done so many incredible things in his baseball career that it’s really hard to fathom he turns 40 years old today.
In 19 seasons with the Yankees, he’s done everything he could ever possibly dream about. He’s won five World Series rings, hoping to make it a sixth this season. He’s broken records in categories that list the greatest Yankees players in history including Babe Ruth, Lou Gerhig and Joe DiMaggio. He’s been elected onto the All-Star roster 13 times, currently on his way to a 14th and final selection. He’s the only Yankee to have 3,000 or more hits. He has five Gold Glove awards, five Silver Slugger Awards, two Hank Aaron Awards and a Roberto Clemente Award. He was a part of the prestigious Core Four, along with Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada; Jeter being the final member of that group to still play baseball.
There’s no doubt Derek Jeter is a first time Hall-of-Famer, there’s no doubt he’s one of the greatest Yankees to ever live, there’s even no doubt that he’s one of the most exciting players of his time. He’s a man who always knows the right thing to say, he’s a man that helps his team turn the page when there’s a heart breaking loss, he’s the man steering the Yankees ship, hence why they call him “The Captain”.
Next year, Derek Jeter will be gone and the future of shortstop will be uncertain. Fans expect baseball players to have immortality and to be on the field forever. There’s always a time where a player has to say goodbye, and at the end of this season that time will come for Jeter. But for now, he’s going to celebrate his 40th birthday and although he may be “old” by baseball standards, he’s very much young and still has a whole career after baseball ahead of him. Knowing the kind of person Jeter is, he’ll have success in anything he chooses once he hangs up the cleats for good. Happy Birthday, Derek Jeter. Make this last one in pinstripes count.