Derek Jeter is arguably the greatest leader and winner in baseball history. Yesterday, Jeter announced that he would retire at season’s end. In case you forgot what he’s done, here are five plays that embody the outstanding career of Derek Jeter:
5. Leadoff Home-run: Game 4 2000 World Series
Derek Jeter is the ultimate table setter. Immediately after the Mets won game 3 of the 2000 World Series, Jeter moved up to the lead-off spot for game 4. On the very first pitch of the game from Mets pitcher Bobby Jones, Jeter drilled a home-run into the left field seats to put the Yankees back on top and they wouldn’t look back. The Yankees won the game 3-2, and went on to win the next game to take the series. In the first Subway Series since 1956, Derek Jeter knew the Yankees couldn’t afford to lose, and he made 100 percent sure that would not happen. He went on to be named World Series MVP in the Yankees 4th title in a 5-year span.
4. Jeter Becomes All-Time Yankees Hits leader: September 11th, 2009
What better way to officially cement himself among the all-time Yankee greats. On September 11th, 2009, Jeter became the all-time Yankees hits leader passing “The Iron Horse” Lou Gehrig on a classic “Jeterian” opposite field single. Naturally, the Yankees won the game.
3. “The Dive”: July 1st, 2004
Derek Jeter will do whatever it takes to win, and nothing exemplified that more than what he did on July 1st, 2004, against the Boston Red Sox. In the top of the 11th inning, the Red Sox had runners on 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs with Trot Nixon at the plate. Nixon hit a looper into shallow left field and there’s Jeter running for his life. He makes the catch, but can’t stop so he dives into the stands giving up his health and body for a regular season game in July. Jeter immediately rose from the stands before the medical staff insisted he leave the game. Due to Jeter’s effort, the game remained tied and John Flarhey went on to have the game winning hit. This is by far one of the gutsiest plays in the history of baseball.
2. Flip Play: Game 3 2001 ALDS
Talk about coming up big. With the Yankees facing elimination in game 3 of the 2001 ALCS, Derek Jeter made one of the greatest plays in baseball history. The Yankees were leading 1-0 in the bottom of the 7th inning with Jeremy Giambi on first for the A’s. Terrence Long hit a ball into the right field corner, and Giambi was attempting to tie the game for Oakland. Yankees right fielder Shane Spencer over-threw two cut-off men, but out of nowhere, completely out of position, was Jeter who was there to save the day. Jeter flipped the ball to Jorge Posada who tagged Giambi on his leg just before he touched to plate to preserve the Yankees 1-0 lead. The Yankees went on to win the game, and the next two to take the series. This could be the greatest play ever made by a shortstop, and the circumstances of the play could not have been bigger.
1. 3,000th Hit: July 11th, 2011
Few players have ever had a flare for the dramatic quite like Derek Jeter. Not even the great Steven Spielberg could have written a better script for Jeter’s 3,000th hit. Jeter did it in grand style drilling a David Price slider into the left field bleachers. To most players that would have been enough, but Jeter went on to have a 5/5 day including driving in the game-winning run in the bottom of the 8th inning. When the Yankee Stadium faithful wanted to serenade Jeter for his epic accomplishment, here’s what Jeter said, “I actually felt bad that the game had to stop. It’s almost like, ‘I’m sorry. Hopefully, we can get this thing moving again.'” What more can you say?
When the 2014 Yankees season comes to a close on September 28th at Fenway Park, one of the greatest and classiest careers in baseball history will come to a close and these plays are just a mere taste of how much Jeter has meant to the Yankees organization and the sport of baseball in his career.