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Friday, December 30, 2011
Derek Jeter: ESPN NY Person of 2011

By Mike Mazzeo
Special to ESPNNewYork.com

New York sports fans can't get enough of Derek Jeter.

So it came as no surprise that the Yankees shortstop -- better known in 2011 as "Mr. 3,000" -- won the voting to capture ESPN New York's Person of the Year honors.

Jeter's teammate Mariano Rivera, who became baseball's all-time saves leader, finished second. Giants quarterback Eli Manning, Knicks power forward Amare Stoudemire and former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand, who has served as an inspiration in his fight against paralysis, rounded out the top five.

Stephen A. Smith chose the 10 finalists for ESPN New York's Person of the Year. Rounding out the field were Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson (sixth), Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (seventh), ex-Knicks GM Donnie Walsh (eighth), Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis (ninth) and St. Anthony (N.J.) High School boys basketball coach Bob Hurley Sr., who picked up his 1,000th victory.

On July 9, Jeter became the 28th member of baseball's 3,000-hit club -- and he did so in grand style. In the third inning, Jeter homered to left off Rays southpaw David Price, becoming the first player to reach the milestone in a Yankees uniform. Christian Lopez, a cellphone salesman, wound up with the baseball from Jeter's 3,000th hit and gave it back to the Captain, capping off the storybook afternoon.

Jeter, who had to deal with messy contract negotiations with the Yankees late in 2010, rebounded from a brutal start to the 2011 campaign to finish with a .297 batting average, six home runs and 61 RBIs, showing everyone that, at 37, he's not done just yet.

Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.