It looks like the Yankees will have to finish the race toward October baseball without the Captain. As I’m sure you’ve heard, Derek Jeter will be sitting out his favorite time of year due to a series of injuries that started last fall when he injured his ankle in the ALCS vs. the Tigers. There have been rumors that Jeter should hang it up.
While he only played 17 games this season, Jeter’s presence will certainly be missed by his team and fans alike. I know that personally, watching the race to the playoffs will not be the same without #2 on the field.
Here are 5 reasons why I think Jeter will be missed the most:
1. Flair for the dramatics
Jeter has always been one to make it exciting. Take his 3000th hit for example. Not only did he accomplish a feat only 28 players before him have done, he did it with a home run. He finished the day 5-5, leading the Yankees to a win.
And who could forget when Jeter took flight? Diving into the stands, Jeter ended the 12th inning with an unbelievable play. The Yankees finished the game with a win as Jeter found himself heading to the hospital.
2. Captain Clutch
After many years of proving greatness under pressure, Jeter rightfully earned the nickname of ‘Captain Clutch’. He never fails to deliver in the 11th hour, doing anything to lead the Yanks to a win.
His flip to Posada in the ALDS series in 2001 vs. Oakland will go down in history as one of the best plays in baseball. Mike Mussina was pitching a 1-0 gem with 2 outs in the 7th. The tying run was rounding home as right fielder, Shane Spenser, released a cannon soaring over everyone’s head toward the on deck circle. Jeter came swooping in out of nowhere, grabbed the ball and made a shovel pass landing perfectly in Posada’s glove who simply has to bend down to make the tag. They get the out and the Yanks end up winning the game. Watching the video gives me goosebumps.
3. “Mr. November”
The clock struck 12 and November baseball officially began. And of course, Jeter rang in it with the most dramatic of fashions. He collects another post season home run that lead the Yanks to a crucial Game 4 victory in the 2001 World Series. With this hit, Jeter earned another nickname: Mr. November.
Although Jeter is not typically regarded as a home run hitter, he’s come up big several times in critical post season moments. In his rookie season, Jeter hit a controversial home run to tie the Orioles in the ’96 ALCS. He broke the tie of Game 4 of the ALCS in 2000 with a 5th inning blast. Later that season, Jeter led off a pivotal Game 3 with a first pitch homer against the Mets in the Subway Series.
4. Yankee Legend
Joe Torre said it best: “It took me 30-something years to get to the World Series. [Jeter] thinks it’s an every-year occurrence. You look in his eyes, you see something special because he’s a leader. He was a leader when he was 20 years old.”
Jeter has been leading the Yankees to postseason wins since he stepped on a Major League field. He’s a bridge from Yankee legends of old and one of the last members of the dynasty years. When he steps up to the plate, Bob Shepard’s voices echoes through the facade of the stadium, representing the last Yankee to be announced by this legendary voice. He’s one of the last of Torre’s soldiers and the closest remain of George Steinbrenner’s legacy and ruthless drive to win.
As much as I hate to admit it, Jeter’s years on the diamond are wearing thin. He has left Yankee fans with no shortage of memorable moments and I have no doubt that there are several more left in him.