Wednesday, October 1, 2003
Jeter always in position to win
By Nick Acocella
Special to ESPN.com
October 13, 2001 --The play has been come to be remembered as "The Flip." The Yankees were leading the A's 1-0 in the seventh inning of Game 3 of the American League Division Series in Oakland when Terrence Long doubled into the rightfield corner. When Shane Spencer overthrew the cutoff man, it looked as if Jeremy Giambi would score from first base.
But Derek Jeter, who had raced across the field to back up between first base and home plate, snared the ball with an on-the-run leap and from foul territory flipped sidearm and backhand to Jorge Posada. The catcher tagged Giambi on the back of his leg just before he crossed home plate.
The play was extraordinary under any circumstances, but the context - a nationally televised game of a postseason series in which the Yankees had fallen behind two games to none - brought Jeter an avalanche of publicity. It also helped that the game ended 1-0 and that the Yankees went on to win the best-of-five series. Most fans used the word "instinct" to describe the play.
But Jeter, with characteristic modesty, provided a different reason for being in the right location. The shortstop explained that there is no other logical place for him to be on that play. He also said that the Yankees practice that play in spring training.
Odds 'n' Ends
A scholar-athlete in high school, Jeter had a 3.87 grade point average and served as president of the Latin Club and secretary of the Honor Society.
Jeter was heavily recruited by the University of Michigan, but chose to
sign with the Yankees instead. He spent one semester (fall 1992) at Michigan.
Despite committing 56 errors in 126 games for Class A Greensboro in 1993, Jeter was voted the "Most Outstanding Major League Prospect" by South Atlantic League mangers.
Originally Jeter requested uniform No. 13 with the Yankees, but settled for No. 2 because 13 belonged to Jim Leyritz.
Jeter's No. 2 and manager Joe Torre's No. 6 are the only single-digit numbers not retired by the Yankees.
Jeter's 78 RBIs in 1996 were the most by a rookie shortstop since Julio Franco drove in 80 in 1983.
In his first full seven seasons, Jeter collected more hits than Lou Gehrig or Joe DiMaggio did in their first seven full seasons.
Jeter shares with Rogers Hornsby, Chuck Klein and Wade Boggs the
single-season major league record for most games with at least one hit (135 in 1999).
In 2000, he became only the third Yankee - after Gehrig and Don Mattingly - to record at least 200 hits in three consecutive seasons.
Among Jeter's nine hits in the 2000 World Series against the Mets was an eighth-inning double in Game 2 that led to his scoring what turned out to be the eventual winning run after the Mets rallied for five in the ninth. He also hit a sixth-inning homer in the clincher that tied the score.
Despite his defensive skills, Jeter holds or shares American League records for fewest putouts (212), assists (342), and total chances (555) by a shortstop playing in at least 150 games (in 2001).
Jeter and Bernie Williams are only the second set of teammates to score at least 100 runs in seven straight seasons (1996-2002), joining the Yankees' Earle Combs, Babe Ruth and Gehrig (1926-32).
Jeter hit .500 with two homers in the 2002 Division Series, but the Yankees' season ended in defeat to the eventual world champion California Angels.
In June 2003, Jeter became the Yankees' 11th captain, their first since Mattingly retired after the 1995 season.
In five All-Star Games, Jeter is hitting .571 (4-for-7). He went 3-for-3 when he won the game's MVP in 2000.
In 2004, Jeter's 0-for-32 slump was the longest by a Yankee in 27 years.
Jeter had gone the most at-bats (135) with the bases loaded without a grand slam among active players before he hit a slam off the Cubs' Joe Borowski on June 18, 2005.
In 2006, at the age of only 31, Jeter became the eighth Yankee to reach 2,000 hits.
A notorious junk food afficianado, Jeter eats a quarter-pounder with cheese before games.
He has had endorsement agreements with Skippy Peanut Butter, Nike, Florsheim, the Whiz and Fleet Bank.
His community involvement includes the Turn 2 Foundation, which seeks to prevent and treat substance abuse by teenagers.
When Don Zimmer was the Yankees bench coach, Jeter rubbed his bald pate for good luck.
His relationship with his manager, whom he used to call "Mr. Torre before settling on "Mr. T," is a mutual admiration society. Torre maintains that Jeter settles him down when he is changing pitchers in tense situations.