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Don't Count Out Derek Jeter

Monday, 16 April 2012 09:55 AM Current | Bio | Archive

I admit it. I'm occasionally one of those unbearable New York sports fans. I am never happy. I am impossible to please. I can be a real jerk at times.

I have even doubted the gold standard of New York sports: Derek Jeter, the captain of the New York Yankees.

Jeter has been the most popular player in New York since he arrived on the scene in 1996 as a rookie shortstop. He hit a home run in his first game in The Show, as the major leagues are called. That year, He shook off his rookie inexperience and helped lead the Yankees to the franchise's first World Series title in 18 years.

Over the years, Jeter has combined a blue-collar work ethic with a Hollywood screenwriter's sense of drama.

In 1996, his home run against Baltimore in game one of the American League Championship Series was stolen from the Orioles' right fielder, Tony Tarasco, by an eager 12-year-old fan named Jeffrey Maier. Maier reached over the wall and snatched the home-run ball before Tarasco could make a play. Only Jeter, it seemed, could hit that dramatic home run.

In 2001, Jeter became known as "Mr. November" when his home run at 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 1, defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks in game 4 of the World Series. When Jeter needed to step it up last July against the Tampa Bay Rays to reach the high-water mark of 3,000 career hits, he went 5 for 5 and, of course, hit No. 3,000 was a home run. The man has style.

So far, in 2012, Jeter is holding up his end. He is batting over .300 and playing an excellent shortstop. He hit a booming home run on Sunday night to help power the Yankees past Albert Pujols and the Angels at Yankee Stadium, showing a national television audience what he has left in the tank.

Jeter will turn 38 on June 26 — that's awfully old for a shortstop. Still, don't bet against the man. I sure won't. I've learned never to count him out.

In Jeter I Trust.

Jon Friedman writes the Media Web column for MarketWatch.com. Click here to read his latest column. (Friedman is also the author of "Forget About Today: Bob Dylan's Genius for (Re)invention, Shunning the Naysayers and Creating a Personal Revolution," which Penguin will publish in August.) Read more reports from Jon Friedman — Click Here Now.


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