Derek Jeter was finally inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday. Although the ceremony was delayed due to Covid concerns, he and Larry Walker had their official induction yesterday.
The ceremony provided a mix of emotions. There was laughter, nostalgia, joy, and tears. Before discussing what Jeter had to say during his speech, let’s take a look at the journey he had to Cooperstown.
Jeter was an anomaly in a few different ways. First, he is a symbol of loyalty. In an era where players are constantly changing teams due to free agency, he spent his whole career with the team who drafted him and has become a true Yankee legend.
Secondly, Jeter was tall for a shortstop at 6’3. Many shortstops with that height convert to third baseman as their career rolls along, but Jeter stayed at the position throughout his career.
However, it was not all smooth sailing for the man they now call, “The Captain.”
Derek Jeter’s rookie season was 1996. The Yankees were ready to make him their everyday shortstop but his struggles during Spring Training raised some concerns. There were people in the Yankees front office who felt he was not ready for the big leagues, but with injuries to the other shortstop alternatives, New York stuck with Jeter.
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) September 8, 2021
It ultimately proved to be the correct decision, as Jeter went on to win the American League Rookie of the Year Award and was a vital part of the ‘96 World Series winning team.
As time went on, Jeter’s star continued to grow in New York. His average consistently sat right around the .300 mark and he was one of the most clutch players in the game. Jeter earned the nickname “Mr. November” in game 4 of the 2001 World Series following a walk off home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
He continued to play his best under pressure throughout his entire career which led to five World Series rings. One play that specifically stands out was the “flip play” against the Oakland Athletics during the 2001 American League Division Series.
The Yankees led the game 1-0 late with the tying run on base. A ball was then hit down the first base line and into the right field corner.
The tying run was trying to score from first and it looked like he was going to be safe by a mile. The throw from the Yankees’ right fielder was an errant one and was headed well to the right of Yankees catcher Jorge Posada. However, Jeter came out of nowhere to cut the ball off to flip it to Posada for the out. This play demonstrated the incredible I.Q. of Jeter.
Other fantastic plays from the career of Jeter include; going head first into the stands to make a catch against the rival Boston Red Sox, hitting a home run on hit number 3,000 in his career, and hitting a walk-off single in his final game at Yankee Stadium.
All of this leads us to September 8, 2021. Jeter is ready to give one of the most anticipated Hall of Fame speeches in recent history. There is a plethora of Yankee fans at the event shouting the famous “Derek Jeter” chant. His name is announced to a roar of applause from the crowd.
During the speech, he wanted to thank the baseball writers by saying, “thank you to the baseball writers, all but one of you who voted for me.” This led to a big laugh from the crowd. Jeter was a near-unanimous Hall of Fame inductee, but one unnamed writer did not give Jeter his vote.
He went on to tell a number of great stories from his time in the league, and thanked many people who were close to him.
Derek Jeter is officially in the Hall of Fame right where he belongs.