Yankees fans get chance to honor Derek Jeter’s HOF induction

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Derek Jeter Yankees
Baseball Hall of Famer Derek Jeter speaks as his daughter Bella Raine smiles by his side during a ceremony honoring his Hall of Fame induction last year, before a baseball game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees on Friday, Sept. 9, 2022, in New York.
AP Photo/Adam Hunger

Chants of “Derek Jeter” echoed across Yankee Stadium as the baseball legend stepped back onto the field for a night celebrating his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. At one point the cheers grew so loud they drowned out broadcaster Michael Kay, who was co-MCing the event with radio voice John Sterling. 

It was a hero’s welcome for the Yankees great, who had been voted into the Hall of Fame in 2020 and was finally inducted in 2021 due to the ceremony being canceled because of COVID the year before. And on Friday before New York hosted the Tampa Bay Rays, Yankees fans got the chance to celebrate Jeter, who won four World Series rings with the Yankees during the course of his 20 seasons in pinstripes. 

“Right here, in front of you, with you is where I really feel at home,” Jeter told the fans during the roughly 20-minute ceremony held on the field. 

A rowdy Yankee Stadium cheered Jeter’s name throughout the event and during parts of the tribute video that was narrated by celebrity Yankees fan Billy Crystal. Along with Jeter’s wife and three daughters, his mother, father, sister and nephew joined him on the field. 

It was Jeter’s two oldest daughters who stole the show at times while the famed shortstop addressed the crowd. Bella Raine, 5, and Story Grey, 3 were running around behind Jeter as he gave his speech in his first trip back to the Bronx since the organization retired his number in 2017. 

“I made a deal with them. I said. ‘if you sit in your chair the entire time I’ll get you ice cream afterwards,'” Jeter said during a press conference later in the night. “My oldest when she kept hitting me that’s all she was saying was ‘tell them I’m getting ice cream, tell them I’m getting ice cream.’ They lost the deal, but I’m pretty sure they’re  having it right now.” 

Yankee teammates CC Sabathia, Tino Martinez, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera were also in attendance, along with former manager Joe Torre. Following the ceremony, Jeter threw out the first pitch from in front of the mound.

The trip back to the Bronx felt like a long time coming for Jeter, who hadn’t been around much following his 2017 number retirement by the organization. 

“I did miss (this) place,” Jeter said. “Like I said, this is home for me. I was here for 20 years right across the street and in this building, so it’s 20 years that I played pretty much every day and this is where I feel most comfortable. So yeah of course I missed Yankee Stadium.”

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The Yankees legend did pledge to be more of a presence around the team going forward and it was clear the respect that he still gets from those inside baseball. Both dugouts were full during the pregame ceremony and Yankees manager Aaron Boone praised the impact that Jeter had on the game and the organization. 

“An all-timer for an all-time organization,” Boone said before the game. “When you think of Derek, you think of winning and you think of just a gamer. You know when I got traded over here from the National League, I knew I was coming to play with a great player. I tell everyone he was better than I even expected. Just in the biggest moments, just kind of give me the ball, I got this.”