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DEREK JETER Baseball legend

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The all-time Yankees hits leader, and active hits leader among Major Leaguers, Derek Jeter is known simply as “The Captain,” for all the qualities that he represents: excellent play, class, leadership and winning.

Derek Jeter is a 12-time All-Star with five Gold Glove and four Silver Sluggers and is the all-time postseason leader in hits, games played, extra-base hits and runs scored. He is in his 18th season with the Yankees, matching the record held by Hall of Famers Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle.

In a letter to Derek in 2009, Commissioner Bud Selig wrote, “[You are] Major League Baseball’s foremost champion and ambassador. You embody all the best of Major League Baseball. You have represented the sport magnificently throughout your Hall of Fame career. On and off the field, you are a man of great integrity, and you have my admiration.”

Derek Sanderson Jeter was born on June 26, 1974, in Pequannock, N.J. After spending the early years of his life growing up less than 30 miles away from Yankee Stadium, Derek moved with his family to Kalamazoo, Mich., where he began playing T-ball at the age of 5. Thanks to the influence of his grandmother, he grew up a Yankees fan and idolized outfielder Dave Winfield. Derek would regularly return to New Jersey during the summer to visit his grandparents and attend Yankees games.

His early days on the diamond in Kalamazoo were spent honing his skills in the Eastwood, Oakwood and Westwood Little Leagues. When he started playing high school ball in 1989, his talents helped him earn a spot on the Kalamazoo Central varsity team as a freshman. Derek also spent three years playing varsity basketball, earning honorable mention all-state. Derek’s younger sister, Sharlee, was multitalented as well, playing basketball, volleyball and softball. She also showed her diversity of talents as a member of the high school band.

After batting .557 with seven homers as a junior, Derek hit .508 (30-for-59) with four home runs, 23 RBIs, 21 walks and only one strikeout in 23 games his senior year. He got on base 63.7 percent of the time and tallied an impressive .831 slugging percentage. Derek collected several awards at season’s end, including the Kalamazoo Area B’nai B’rith Award for Scholar Athlete, the 1992 High School Player of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association, the 1992 Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year and USA Today‘s High School Player of the Year.

That spring, the Yankees drafted Derek with the sixth overall pick in the 1992 MLB First-Year Player Draft. He was the first high school player chosen that year and became the third shortstop selected in Yankees history with a first-round pick. Derek also received a scholarship to play baseball at the University of Michigan, where he attended school in 1992 following his first summer of Minor League baseball.

In 1993, his first full year of professional baseball, Derek was voted the Most Outstanding Major League Prospect by South Atlantic League managers after hitting .295 with five home runs, 71 RBI and 18 stolen bases at Class A Greensboro. He was named to the All-Star team after finishing second in the league in triples (11), third in hits (152) and 11th in batting average. Derek was also voted by Baseball America as the South Atlantic League’s Best Defensive Shortstop, Most Exciting Player and Best Infield Arm.

Derek Jeter continued to improve, and in 1994, he was named the Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America, The Sporting News, USA Today Baseball Weekly and Topps/NAPBL after hitting .344 with five home runs, 68 RBI and 50 stolen bases combined at Triple-A Columbus, Double-A Albany and Class A Tampa. He was also named the Most Valuable Player of the Florida State League.

On May 29, 1995, Derek got his first taste of the Majors after Yankees shortstop Tony Fernandez was placed on the disabled list. His big league debut came in Seattle with Derek starting at shortstop alongside All-Star infielders Don Mattingly and Wade Boggs. The following day, Derek collected his first two Major League hits and scored his first career run.

In 1996, the Yankees made Derek their first Opening Day rookie shortstop since Tom Tresh in 1962. He responded by Derek Jeter Celebrity Sports Speaker Agenthitting his first Major League home run, a solo shot off Cleveland’s Dennis Martinez in the fifth inning of a 7-1 Yankees victory. Derek finished his rookie season with a .314 average, 10 home runs, 78 RBIs and 14 steals en route to winning the American League Rookie of the Year Award.

It was also during his rookie season that Derek established the Turn 2 Foundation to promote healthy lifestyles among youths. While sharing a pizza in a Detroit hotel room, Derek announced to his father that he was ready to start his own foundation. Then and there, they laid the plans for the Turn 2 Foundation. The Foundation was created with the goal of motivating young people to “turn to” healthy lifestyles and “turn away” from drugs and alcohol. Turn 2 has since awarded more than $16 million in grants to youth programs in West Michigan, New York City and the Tampa-St. Petersburg area.

In October of that memorable year, Derek got his first taste of postseason play, batting .361 to help lead the Yankees to their first World Series title since 1978. Derek was also part of one of the more memorable moments in postseason history in the eighth inning of Game 1 of the American League Championship Series against the Baltimore Orioles. His deep fly ball to right field at Yankee Stadium was cradled into the stands by 12-year-old Jeffrey Maier above the reach of Baltimore’s Tony Tarasco. The play was ruled a home run by right-field umpire Richie Garcia, and the solo shot tied the game at 4-4. The Yankees went on to win on Bernie Williams’ 11th-inning home run. The Bombers defeated the Orioles in five games, and in the World Series, they recovered from a two-games-to-none deficit to win the next four and clinch their first World Series in 18 years.

In 1997, Derek helped lead the Yankees back to the postseason, where they lost to Cleveland in the American League Division Series. Derek received his first MVP votes and finished third in the American League with 190 hits.

New York rebounded from 1997’s disappointment by winning a franchise-record 114 games in 1998. The Yankees captured their second World Series title in three years that season. Derek’s .324 average, 203 hits, 19 homers and 30 steals helped him earn the first of 12 All-Star appearances (1998-2002, 2004, 2006-11). Derek finished third in the MVP voting that season, the second-best finish of his career. He led the AL in runs scored (127) and set a Major League record for most runs scored by a shortstop in his first three full seasons (352), a record that had stood for 87 years.

The 1999 season was Derek’s greatest statistically and surely one of his greatest personally as well, as it ended in a third world championship. Derek set career highs in batting average (.349), on-base percentage (.438), slugging percentage (.552), home runs (24), RBIs (102), triples (nine) and walks (91). The Yankees won 98 games and the AL East in 1999. In the postseason, Jeter continued his torrid hitting, batting .375 as the Yankees lost just once on their way to defeating the Rangers, Red Sox and Braves for the World Series title.

In 2000, Derek was named the MVP of both the All-Star Game and the World Series as the Yankees downed the Mets in five games to capture the Subway Series and a fourth title in Jeter’s first five seasons in the Majors. It is the only time that a player has earned MVP honors at the All-Star Game and World Series in the same season. Derek had his third straight 200-hit season and blasted four home runs combined in the ALCS (against the Mariners) and World Series.

Derek Jeter hit his first All-Star Game home run in 2001 — off future teammate Jon Lieber at Safeco Field in Seattle. With that blast, he became the first Yankee to homer at the All-Star Game since Yogi Berra did it in 1959. After defeating a historically excellent Seattle Mariners team in the ALCS, the Yankees lost a memorable World Series to the Arizona Diamondbacks in seven games. Still, in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Yankees’ run through the postseason brought life to a city in recovery. Derek’s dramatic home run off Byung-Hyun Kim in the bottom of the 10th inning of Game 4 won the first game ever completed in the month of November.

Derek’s seventh full season in the Majors, 2002, saw him pound out hits with metronomic consistency. He had 191 for the second straight season and ranked third in the AL in hits and stolen bases (32). Derek became only the fourth player in Major League history to score at least 100 runs in his first seven full seasons, joining Earle Combs, Ted Williams and Johnny Pesky. His team won yet another AL East title before the Angels upset the Yankees in the ALDS. Derek did bat .500 with two home runs in defeat against the then-Anaheim Angels.

On June 3, 2003, Derek was named captain of New York Yankees, becoming only the 11th player named captain in franchise history and the first since Don Mattingly retired after the 1995 season. Derek missed the entire month of April and most of the first two weeks of May after dislocating his left shoulder in an Opening Night collision with Toronto’s Ken Huckaby. Still, Derek had hits in 21 of his first 23 games and batted .324, collecting 38 extra-base hits in just 119 games. The Yankees won the division again and then an ALDS battle with the Minnesota Twins before meeting the archrival Red Sox in the ALCS. With his team trailing, 5-2, in the eighth inning of Game 7, Derek started an epic rally with a double off Boston pitcher Pedro Martinez. The Yankees scored three times to tie the game in the eighth before winning on Aaron Boone’s home run to lead off the bottom of the 11th. Derek batted .314 with five doubles and two home runs in that postseason, though the Yankees lost to the Florida Marlins in the World Series.

In 2004, Derek captured his first Gold Glove Award and smacked a career-high 44 doubles to help the Yankees earn their 10th straight appearance in the postseason. The Yankees won 101 games that season, their second most in Derek’s time with the team. The Yankees reached the ALCS for the seventh time in nine seasons in 2004.

The 2005 season saw Derek finish second in the American League in runs scored with 122 and third in hits with 202. The Yankees won yet another division title that season, clinching the AL East on the last weekend of the season at Fenway Park. Derek finished in the top 10 of MVP voting for the fifth of six times during his career.

Prior to the 2006 regular season, Derek played for Team USA in the first-ever World Baseball Classic. He was one of the leading hitters in the tournament, batting .450 (9-for-20). Derek followed up his performance in the international tournament with his best offensive season since 1999. He finished second in batting average (.343) and runs scored (118) and third in hits (214). Derek finished second behind Minnesota’s Justin Morneau in the AL Most Valuable Player Award voting. He also won his first Silver Slugger in 2006, awarded to the best offensive shortstop in the AL. He set a personal best with 34 stolen bases. Jeter was also recognized for his defense, winning his third straight Gold Glove in that season. The Yankees won their ninth straight division title, this one 10 games over the Blue Jays.

The 2007 season saw Derek collect 200 hits for the sixth time, putting him behind only Lou Gehrig for the most such seasons in Yankees history. The six 200-hit seasons set a Major League record for shortstops. Derek was elected to the AL All-Star team, participating in his eighth Midsummer Classic. Derek, for the second year in a row, won the Silver Slugger. The Yankees, once again, made the playoffs — this time as the Wild Card team from the AL.

Though the 2008 season ended in disappointment for the Yankees, Derek still added to his list of accomplishments and reached some significant milestones. With 179 hits, Derek collected 1,947 hits from 1999-2008, the most in the Majors during that time. He also leads all active players with his streak of 13 consecutive seasons with at least 150 hits. Derek’s hit on Sept. 16 against the White Sox moved him past Lou Gehrig for most hits by a player at Yankee Stadium. With the closing of the old Yankee Stadium at the end of that season, Jeter’s total of 1,274 hits will stand as the all-time record. Derek’s base hit on Aug. 22 against the Orioles gave him 2,500 hits for his career. Among the 88 who had done it through the 2008 season, he was the third youngest player to collect his 2,500th hit.

Derek made his ninth All-Star team in 2008, joining teammate Mariano Rivera as the only active players to earn nine selections for one team. Derek also earned his third straight Silver Slugger after a fourth straight season in which he batted at least .300. Through the end of the 2008 season, Derek led all active players in multi-hit games (743) and three-hit games (221). Derek was the captain of Team USA’s 2009 World Baseball Classic team where the Americans reached the semifinals of the international tournament.

In 2009, Derek led the Yankees back to the top of baseball’s mountain. The Bombers won a Major League-best 103 games, topping the Red Sox by eight in the division. The Yankees then swept the Twins in the ALDS before defeating the Angels and Phillies, each in six games, to bring the franchise its 27th world championship. For Derek, the title was his fifth and capped a memorable season in which he became the all-time Yankees leader in hits, passing Lou Gehrig with a single against Baltimore on Sept. 11.

After the memorable season, the awards came fast and furiously. Jeter won his fourth Gold Glove and fourth Silver Slugger in a season where he batted .334 with a .406 OBP. Derek also scored 107 runs, smacked 18 home runs and stole 30 bases. He was second in the American League in hits with 212. Thanks to his batting prowess, Derek also won the Hank Aaron Award as the best hitter in the AL. He received the Roberto Clemente Award for his commitment to service in the community. Finally, Derek was honored with Sports Illustrated‘s Sportsman of the Year for his overall accomplishments in 2009, beating out athletes from across the sporting world.

Derek made history early a few games into the 2010 season when on April 6, he, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera became the first trio of teammates in MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL history to have played together in 16 seasons. A month later, on May 5, Derek tied Lou Gehrig for second on the team’s all-time list for games played with 2,164. Derek made the AL All-Star team for the fifth consecutive season and 11th time in his career. On Aug. 8, Derek reached another milestone — the captain got his 2,874th career hit, moving past Babe Ruth on the Majors’ all-time list.

Derek Jeter and the Yankees returned to the playoffs as the AL Wild Card after a one-year layoff. The Bombers swept the Twins to advance to the ALCS to face the Rangers, to whom they lost in six games. Derek added more hardware to his shelf when he won his fifth career Gold Glove.

In 2011, Derek became the 23rd member of the 3,000-hits club, the fourth-youngest player to reach the milestone and the first to get No. 3,000 with the Yankees. The captain reached the milestone in style on July 9, blasting a home run off Rays ace David Price. Derek recorded five hits on that historic afternoon at Yankee Stadium — the third five-hit game of his career. Also in 2011, Derek set the record for most games played at shortstop for one team and set Yankees’ records for career games played and stolen bases.

Remarkably, Derek Jeter has played just one regular-season game in his career in which his team had been mathematically eliminated from postseason play. He holds Yankees career records for hits, games played, stolen bases, at-bats, and singles.

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