Derek Jeter was a Hall of Fame shortstop from start to finish
Yet for it all, the Yankees have won so stupendously that Jeter has played exactly one home game in his entire career with the team knocked out of the playoffs: that last game in 2014.
“I prided myself on being consistent, and when a game needed to be played, I felt like I was going to play it,” Jeter said last week on a conference call with reporters. “And I maintain that my teammates also trusted me to play. So I don’t put much into it, because I don’t think it’s possible to be so successful as a team if you had someone who was so poor defensively.
Jeter played shortstop because his father, Charles, had played there at Fisk University in Nashville. Charles coached Derek in Little League and also played his son on second and third. A brief escape from the infield didn’t go well.
“I remember being very young and telling my dad I thought it was easy to play off the field, and he put me in the outfield, hit me with a few flying balls and I wasn’t very good, ”Jeter said. “So that was the end of the field experience.”
Jeter stayed shortstop, and only shortstop, until the very end. He stayed there in his first full professional season, with Class A Greensboro in 1993, when he made 56 mistakes. He stayed there in 2004, when Alex Rodriguez – the reigning American League shortstop, Gold Glove Award winner – joined the Yankees and rose to third place. Jeter broke his ankle diving short in the 2012 playoffs, costing him most of the following season, but returned to play 140 games on the field at 40.
“Derek was, I think, the most confident player I have ever played with,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone, a former third baseman, who played alongside Jeter in 2003. wanted the ball and played the game with a ton of confidence. It didn’t necessarily mean he was the best of the best, but I felt like there was a real underlying confidence in what he was doing, and it helped make him even better. than it was.