Derek Jeter, the New York Yankees primary starting shortstop since 1996, turned 40 on June 26, 2014, in the midst of his final season in Major League Baseball. In honor of his 40 years, here are 40 memorable highlights (and a few "lowlights") from his amazing career.
1. Draft Day, June 1st, 1992
Derek Jeter wasn't the first, second, third, fourth, or fifth pick overall. The man who is now arguably a first-ballot Hall of Famer was selected by the New York Yankees with the sixth pick in the 1992 MLB Draft, thus starting an illustrious career.
2. First professional game, 1992
Before he became the player he is today, Jeter had a lackluster debut. In his first professional baseball game with the Class A Tampa organization, Jeter went 0 for 7 and struck out five times. At least there was no way to go but up, and Jeter went up, up, and away.
3. Major League debut, 1995
So remember his Class A debut? His MLB debut went similarly. Jeter went 0 for 5 with a strikeout in his debut, but a debut nonetheless. It was the first glimpse of the man who one day would be known as The Captain.
4. First hit, 1995
The first out of 3,388 (and counting) hits came the day after his debut. Jeter went 2 for 4 and scored twice, a nice way to bounce back for a shaky debut.
5. First home run, 1996
Jeter's first home run came at the beginning of his rookie season. In the first game of the 1996 regular season, Jeter hit a line drive home run in the top of fifth inning. The Yankees went on to win the game 7-1.
6. Rookie of the Year, 1996
With a home run at the start of his rookie season, Jeter didn't let up. He finished with a batting average of .310, an on-base percentage of .370, and collected 10 home runs and 70 RBIs, making Jeter the fifth unanimously voted Rookie of the Year.
7. First postseason, 1996.
Yes, 1996 was a very good year for Jeter and the Yankees. Jeter got his first taste of the MLB postseason in his rookie season, where he got a .361 batting average and some hardware to compliment his Rookie of the Year honors. His first postseason also included a play that will forever live in infamy.
8. The Maier Game, 1996
In Game 1 of the 1996 American League Championship Series against the Baltimore Orioles, Jeter launched a fly ball to deep right field. Jeffrey Maier, a 12-year-old fan, lunged out over the railing and caught the ball. Spectator interference wasn't called and Jeter was credited with a home run, but the play displayed fan interference in a large light and changed the complexion of the ALCS.
9. First World Series, 1996
To add more to his banner year, Jeter got to experience his first World Series in his rookie season, his first of many more to come.
10. First World Series victory, 1996
Jeter's first of five World Series titles came in 1996. The Yankees defeated the Atlanta Braves in six games, ushering in a new era in Yankees history.
11. First All-Star Game, 1998
Hard to believe it took Jeter two full seasons to become an all-star with a World Series title on his resume. He didn't start, but being a part of an all-star team is better than not being on one.
12. Jump throw
Jeter didn't start the jump throw in 1998, but we would be remiss if we didn't include every time Jeter did a jump throw to nail a runner out.
13. World Series 1998-2000
Jeter was a part of a historic Yankee team that won the World Series three years in a row. In 1998, the Yankees won 114 games with Jeter batting .324 with 127 runs (leading the AL), 19 home runs and 84 RBIs. They swept the Padres in 1998 and swept the Braves in '99. In 2000, the Yankees beat crosstown rivals the New York Mets, a series where Jeter flourished.
14. All-Star MVP, 2000
Jeter recorded three hits, with one hit being a two-run single that gave the American League the victory. Jeter's performance was awarded with the MVP honors of the 2000 All-Star Game.
15. First-pitch home run, 2000
The memorable moment for Jeter came on the first pitch of Game 4 in the 2000 World Series. Bobby Jones threw the first pitch, Jeter's bat made contact, and in a matter of seconds, the Yankees were leading 1-0 on a solo home run by Derek Jeter on the first pitch of the game.
16. World Series MVP, 2000
In a memorable World Series centered in New York City, the Yankees faced off against the Mets, with Jeter going above and beyond. He finished with two home runs and a .409 batting average. He became the first player to win the World Series MVP and All-Star MVP in the same season.
17. Subway Series
The Subway Series became revitalized with the emergence of Derek Jeter. Entering the final Subway Series showdown in 2014, Jeter had a batting average of .368 with an on-base plus slugging percentage of .966. He participated in 88 games between the Mets and Yankees, etching his name in Subway Series history.
18. The Flip Play, 2001
This play is arguably the greatest play by Jeter in his baseball career. In Game 3 of the American League Divisional Series against the Oakland Athletics, Jeremy Giambi rounded third and looked prime to score after a wild throw by right fielder Shane Spencer. Suddenly, Jeter appeared out of nowhere from shortstop and backhanded the throw to catcher Jorge Posada who applied the tag to Giambi. The play won the ESPY for Best Play in 2002.
19. Mr. November, 2001
Due to the 9/11 attacks, the MLB season was delayed, pushing back the 2001 World Series. The Yankees advanced for the fourth straight season. Game 4, which began on October 31, became the first non-exhibition game to be played in November: Four minutes after midnight in the 10th inning, Jeter launched a game-winning home run to give the Yankees the win. The word "Mr. November" flashed on the scoreboard. Move over, Reggie "Mr. October" Jackson -- "Mr. November" Derek Jeter had arrived.
20. Dislocation, 2003
Jeter suffered his first serious injury in 2003 when he dislocated his shoulder after colliding with Toronto Blue Jays catcher Ken Huckaby at third base on Opening Day. Jeter missed 36 games, but returned to finish with a .326 batting average and play in another World Series, which they lost to the Florida Marlins.
21. The Captain, 2003
After eight seasons without a captain, George Steinbrenner decided it was time to name a new one. Steinbrenner tapped Jeter the 14th captain in the franchise's history.
22. Dive into the stands, 2004
In the 12th inning of a game against rival Boston Red Sox, Jeter caught a foul ball and launched himself into the second row of the stands in Yankee Stadium. He suffered a lacerated chin and a bruised shoulder, but fans voted it best play on MLB.com.
23. First Gold Glove, 2004
After eight seasons of jump throws, Jeter won his first Gold Glove award. He went on to win the Gold Glove four more times.
24. Hank Aaron Award, 2006
Jeter's best season came in 2006. He had the second-best batting average in the AL with .343, 214 hits, and 118 runs scored. Many expected Jeter to win the AL MVP, but in a close race, Jeter lost to Justin Morneau by 3 first-place votes. While he didn't win the MVP, Jeter won the Hank Aaron Award, the award given to the best offensive player in his respective league. He won the award again in 2009.
25. Yankee Stadium All-Star Game starting shortstop, 2008
2008 was a special year for the Yankees as they bade farewell to the old Yankee Stadium. The All-Star Game was held in the Bronx with Jeter, fittingly, at the starting SS.
26. Yankee Stadium hit record, 2008
On September 16th, Jeter broke Lou Gehrig's record for the most hits in Yankee Stadium with his 1,270th in the ballpark.
27. The Speech for the House that Ruth Built, 2008
At the final game inside the old Yankee Stadium, Jeter grabbed a microphone and delivered a parting speech that went down in history. Jeter said to the fans in the stadium: "The great thing about memories is you're able to pass them along from generation to generation. Although things are going to change next year… there are a few things with the New York Yankees that never change: pride, tradition, and most of all, we have the greatest fans in the world."
28. Yankees all-time hit record, 2009
On September 11th, almost a year after breaking the record for most hits in Yankee Stadium, Jeter broke Gehrig's record of most hits by a Yankee with his 2,722nd.
29. Sportsman of the Year/Roberto Clemente Award, 2009
For the first time in his career, Jeter was recognized for his sportsmanship and his commitment to community service. Sports Illustrated awarded him Sportsman of the Year honors, and Major League Baseball bestowed the Roberto Clemente Award on the captain.
30. Fifth title for the Core Four, 2009
The Core Four -- composed of Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte -- won their fifth title together in the 2009 World Series. The Yankees beat Philadelphia Phillies in six games.
31. Re-signs with the Yankees, 2010
After his worst statistical season in 2010, Jeter became a free agent in the fall. Negotiations were tense enough to lead people to speculate Jeter would not return to New York. But Jeter reached an agreement with the Yankees on a three-year contract.
32. Lou Gehrig Memorial Award, 2010
Phi Delta Theta, Gehrig’s Columbia University fraternity, presents the award each year the Major League player who best exemplifies Gehrig on and off the field. In 2010, that player was Jeter.
33. Breaks the Yankees all-time stolen base record, 2011
In the third inning of a game against the Seattle Mariners in May, Jeter stole second base, the 327th in his career thus breaking Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson's record for most stolen bases by a Yankee.
34. 3,000th hit, 2011
On July 9th, Jeter recorded his 3,000th career hit in grand fashion with a home run off Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price. Jeter recorded five hits in the game, but none more important than the 3,000th hit.
35. Says no to the All-Star Game, 2011
Tired from his chase for his 3,000th hit, Jeter opted to miss the 2011 All-Star Game, a move that caused much controversy, citing fans' disappointment even though Jeter was injured.
36. Most games played as a Yankee, 2011
On August 29th, Jeter played in his 2,402nd game with the Yankees, breaking Mickey Mantle's record for most games played as a Yankee. He finished the 2011 season with 162 hits, his 16th consecutive season with 150 hits or more.
37. Top 10 all-time hits, 2012
On September 14th, Jeter recorded his 3,284th career hit on an infield single, passing Willie Mays for 10th on the all-time hit list. He finished the 2012 season with 216 hits, the most in the MLB.
38. Breaks ankle, 2012
In the 12th inning of Game 1 of the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers, Jeter tried to make a diving play. As he fell to the ground, his left ankle twisted underneath him and broke. Yes, he missed the rest of the playoffs, but the worst was yet to come: He re-fractured the same ankle during rehab and suffered a series of setbacks during the 2013 season that sent him on the DL four times. Jeter later called the 2013 season, in which he had just 63 at-bats in 17 games, a "nightmare." Some even wondered if he'd ever get back.
39. Pulls Rivera from closer's final game, 2013
In an emotional tribute, Jeter and Pettitte went to the mound to pull closer Rivera from his final game as a New York Yankee. Rivera, in tears, came off the mound one last time.
40. Announces retirement on social media, 2014
In a Facebook post in February, Jeter announced 2014 will be his last season as a player. "Coming to the field was always easy," he said at a press conference. "I've been blessed to have pretty good health in my career. It became a job last year. That was not fun at all."
Happy birthday, Derek Jeter.
Editor's note: What highlights did we miss? Comment below.
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