A new documentary entitled “The Captain” explores the life of Yankee legend Derek Jeter, while shedding new light on the mysterious Hall of Famer’s life and legacy.
“I was excited to do a deep dive into who he was, first as a man, and second as a baseball player,” said Emmy award winning director Randy Wilkins. “The goal was to chronicle his life and his career, really prior to him before having daughters and a family.”
Jeter, now 48-years-old, was notoriously private during his 20-year Yankee career, and was the subject of much tabloid drama throughout his tenure in the MLB — but now fans will get an inside look into the longtime champion’s career through Wilkins’s lens when the series premieres on July 18.
“There’s a lot of things that people will find out about him they didn’t previously know,” said Wilkins. “The goal was really to chronicle his life and his career.”
The shortstop was drafted by the Bronx Bombers as the sixth overall pick in the 1992 MLB Draft, and his success quickly made him one of the most famous athletes in the world.
His on the field success made him into a mythical figure in New York sports and beyond, but even the most devout fans of the Pinstripes knew very little about the team’s captain.
“He kept those stories out of the media as much as he could,” said Wilkins. “He was only focused on winning…He didn’t want to create a distraction from winning. He is obsessed with winning.”
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His silence about those news stories, which involved him partying with some of the culture’s most rich and famous, Wilkins said, was “a very international approach” to avoid roping his teammates into the drama surrounding his life.
Wilkins, who rose to prominence in the film industry as an apprentice of famed movie maker Spike Lee (who connected him with Jeter), said that Jeter decided to open up for the documentary to create a historical record of him time in the Bronx, particularly for his daughters, and perhaps to counteract the gossip about his escapades outside of the ball field.
“He understands that being in the public eye — he knows what that entails, and he dealt with it,” Wilkins said. “There were a lot of sides to himself that he kept to himself prior to this coming out.”
“He talked about his celebrity life, but he was always focused on winning.”
In addition to delving into Jeter’s personal life, the 7-part documentary delves into his relationship with his one-time friend Alex Rodriguez (who also appears in the series), as well as his disputes with Yankee general manager Brian Cashman, whom he butted heads with as he aged into the latter-half of his career.
Most illuminatingly for many fans, the documentary touches on issues of race, and Jeter’s life as a biracial man in American sports.
“This is the most complex figure [I’ve done a documentary about], just because there are so many factors that go into it — there’s celebrity, there’s race, there’s his success as an athlete,” said Wilkins, who is a Bronx native and lifelong Yankee fan.
“Outside of family, his biracial identity plays a major factor in how he sees the world, and how he interacts with the world.”
‘The Captain’ will premiere on July 18 at 10 p.m. ET, following the MLB All Star Home Run Derby.
This is part of an ongoing series leading up to the premier of the documentary. Check back at amNY.com for more coverage.