Torre, Showalter, others reflect on DJ-40
June, 26, 2014
By Andrew Marchand | ESPNNewYork.com
AP Images/ Bill NicholsDerek Jeter turns 40 today. Which means his second manager, Joe Torre, is ... well, it's a big number.Leading up to Derek Jeter's 40th birthday, we asked a range of former managers and teammates what Jeter turning 40 means to them.
Joe Torre, Jeter's second major league manager
"He is still a kid to me. The depressing part of it. Let me see, if he is going to be 40, that means I'm going to be 74. That's OK. You know one thing, he didn't waste those years from the time he was 21 when I got to know him to turning 40. Being single in New York and having success and it never spoiled him one bit. That's what is really great for me and I know it is for the fans.
"I want to thank him for my trip to Cooperstown, no question."
Buck Showalter, Jeter's first major league manager
"It makes me feel a little old because I remember '92 when I was in that dugout watching he and his family walk in after the draft, a skinny kid out of Kalamazoo, Michigan. You are proud of the way he has handled himself, as much as anything. I knew when I spent a little time with his mom and dad and his sister that the things that challenged a lot of guys off the field in New York weren't going to challenge him. He stayed in reality and that is very hard to do in New York.
"The one thing I felt confident in was he would be capable of being, whatever that [ability was]. Anyone who said that they knew exactly what he was going to be, nobody is that good. I knew from upbringing, he was going to be as good as he is capable of being.
"The reality is, 'Pal, you're 40.'"
David Cone, former Yankees teammate
"It is remarkable he is still playing that position in the major leagues at 40 years old. I don't know too many others who are in that category in the history of the game. It just shows how remarkable his career has been.
"My message to him, beside the joking about him being 40 and the typical old man jokes would be, I would just say, 'Thank you. Thanks.' He is one of the greatest teammates I've ever had."
Dellin Betances, Yankees reliever, grew up a Yankees fan in New York
"In 1996, I was just eight years old, but seeing a guy that fearless. They won the World Series, obviously. Just watching that was pretty cool. It is crazy that he is turning 40. I'm just honored to be here and playing with this team and sharing the field with him every time I look back. He is right there. He is definitely a great teammate and a class guy. He is a role model for me. I'm honored to be on the same team as him."
Paul O'Neill, former Yankees teammate
"It means a lot of time has passed by, but a lot of great things have happened. He has a lot of things to look forward to in life. The first time I heard about him was spring training, 1995-1996, we knew he was the up-and-coming star. It was just a matter of time. He fulfilled everything he was supposed to do and more."
Alfonso Soriano, Yankees outfielder, two-time Jeter teammate
"Time flies. Seeing Jeter at 40, I remember 2001 working together. Me at second, him at short, the way that he looks now, he looks like he is not 40 years old. He looks so good. I'm happy for him that he has had such a great career and that he keeps playing at the level he is playing at now, almost like 40. It is a great career. He is blessed because there aren't too many players who could play until they are 40 years old."
Mark Teixeira, Yankees first baseman
"The longevity is impressive. Not a lot of guys play this game until they are 40. It is quite an accomplishment. The biggest thing I remember about Derek is him, Alex [Rodriguez] and Nomar [Garciaparra] coming up at the same time and just three great shortstops. We may never see three great shortstops like that come up at around the same time again."
Charlie Hayes, former teammate
"It doesn't seem like he should be turning 40. In 1996, it was his second year, but he still looked like a baby in the face. He is a great guy. I admired the guy because he is a professional on and off the field. He is one of those guys that you don't read a whole lot of him getting in trouble for doing this or doing that. He is a good guy."