Derek Jeter - Biography

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Derek Jeter - Biography

Derek Sanderson Jeter was born on June 26, 1974 in Pequannock, NJ. After spending the early years of his life growing up less than 30 miles away from Yankee Stadium, his family moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan where Derek began playing tee-ball at the age of five. Thanks to the influence of his grandmother, he grew up a Yankees fan and idolized outfielder Dave Winfield. Derek would normally return to New Jersey during the summer to visit his grandparents and attend Yankees games.

His early days on the diamond in Kalamazoo were spent honing his skills in the Eastwood, Oakwood and Westwood Little Leagues. When he started playing high school ball in 1989, his talents helped him earn a spot on the Kalamazoo Central varsity team as a freshman. Derek also spent three years playing varsity basketball, where he earned honorable mention All-State. Derek's younger sister, Sharlee, was also multitalented and played basketball, volleyball and softball, while being a member of her high school band.

After batting .557 with seven homers as a junior, Derek hit.508 (30-59) with 4 HR, 23 RBIs, 21 BB and only one strikeout in 23 games his senior year. He got on base 63.7 percent of the time and tallied an impressive .831 slugging percentage. Derek collected several awards at season's end, including the Kalamazoo Area B'nai B'rith Award for Scholar Athlete, the 1992 High School Player of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association, the 1992 Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year and USA Today's High School Player of the Year.

That spring, the Yankees drafted Derek with the sixth overall pick in the June 1992 draft. He was the first high school player chosen that year and became the third shortstop selected in Yankees history with a first round pick. Derek also received a scholarship to play baseball at the University of Michigan, where he would attend school in 1992 following his first summer of minor league baseball.

In 1993, his first full-year of professional baseball, Derek was voted the "Most Outstanding Major League Prospect" by South Atlantic League managers after hitting .295 with 5 HR, 71 RBIs and 18 stolen bases at Class-A Greensboro. He was named to the All-Star Team after finishing second in the league in triples (11), third in hits (152) and 11th in batting average. Derek was also voted by Baseball America as the South Atlantic League's Best Defensive Shortstop, Most Exciting Player and Best Infield Arm.

Derek continued to improve and in 1994 he was named the Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America, The Sporting News, USA Today Baseball Weekly and Topps/NAPBL after hitting .344 with 5 HR, 68 RBIs and 50 stolen bases combined at Triple-A Columbus, Double-A Albany and Class-A Tampa. He was also named the MVP of the Florida State League.

On May 29, 1995, Derek got his first taste of the Majors after Yankee shortstop Tony Fernandez was placed on the disabled list. His big league debut came in Seattle that day, and Derek started at shortstop alongside All-Star infielders Don Mattingly and Wade Boggs. The following day, Derek collected his first two Major League hits and scored his first career run.

In 1996, the Yankees made Derek their first Opening Day rookie shortstop since Tom Tresh in 1962. He responded by hitting his first Major League home run, a solo shot off Cleveland's Dennis Martinez in the fifth inning of a 7-1 Yankees victory. Derek finished his rookie season with a .314 average, 10 HR, 78 RBIs and 14 steals, en route to winning the American League Rookie of the Year Award.

That fall, Derek got his first taste of postseason play, batting .361 to help lead the Yankees to their first World Series title since 1978. Shortly after celebrating his team's championship, Derek initiated the "Turn 2 Foundation," formed to support and create activities and programs designed to motivate youth to "turn to" a healthy lifestyle, academic achievement and leadership development and "turn away" from substances such as drugs and alcohol.

The following season, Derek helped lead the Yankees back to the postseason, where they would lose to Cleveland in the ALDS. New York rebounded by winning a franchise record 114 games in 1998, and would capture its second World Series title in three years. Derek's .324 average, 203 hits, 19 homers and 30 steals helped him earn the first of six All-Star appearances (1998-2002, 2004), and a year later he would bat a career-high .349, as New York cruised to its third championship in four seasons.

In 2000, Derek was named the MVP of both the All-Star Game and the World Series, as the Yankees downed the Mets to capture the Subway Series and a fourth title in Jeter's five seasons in the Majors.

On June 3, 2003 Derek was named Captain of New York Yankees, becoming only the 11th player to be named captain in franchise history, and the first since Don Mattingly retired after the 1995 season. In 2004, he captured his first Gold Glove award, and helped the Yankees earn their tenth straight appearance in the postseason.


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