Former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has not put on a pinstripe uniform in many years now. However, it would be irresponsible of me to say that the Yankees legend did not leave an indelible mark on the game of baseball.
Derek Jeter's background and New York Yankees experience
Derek Jeter was drafted by the New York Yankees with the sixth overall pick in the 1992 draft. He struggled for a a few seasons in the minor leagues but was called up in May of 1995 to replace some injured players.
"Join us on Friday, September 9 as we celebrate The Captain on Derek Jeter Hall of Fame Induction Tribute Night." - @ New York Yankees
Jeter entered the Majors at a time when shortstops were not particularly good hitters. With the exception of Cal Ripken Jr., shortstops were better known for their defensive play and were not expected to hit well at the plate.
Derek Jeter struggled in 1995 and was demoted to the minor leagues after playing only 15 games. However, everything changed in 1996. Jeter was named to the Yankees Opening Day roster and would not play another minor league game until 2013 when rehabbing an injury.
Jeter had a memorable rookie year and hit .314 with 10 home runs and 78 RBIs. He was named the American League Rookie of the Year and helped the Yankees win the World Series.
Jeter's dominance began in 1996. He went on to play until 2014 and earned many accolades during his career. Derek Jeter was a 14-time All-Star, five-time World Series champion, one-time World Series MVP, five-time Gold Glove award winner, and five-time Silver Slugger award winner. He was also voted into the Hall of Fame in 2020 with almost every vote and has had his number retired by the Yankees.
"New York #Yankees rookie Derek Jeter hits his first career HR vs. Cleveland #Indians pitcher Dennis Martínez on Opening Day at Jacobs Field! (April 2, 1996) #MLB #Baseball #History" - @ Baseball by BSmile
Derek Jeter, with the help of Alex Rodriguez and Nomar Garciaparra, ushered in a new age of shortstop — the age of a shortstop who can hit and play strong defense. You still see shortstops who struggle at the plate, but teams are really looking for players who can both get on base and defend at the six-spot.
It is difficult to explain the full impact Jeter has had on the game, but in short, he forced Major League front offices to completely re-examine what makes a good shortstop.