Finally, Derek Jeter will be officially enshrined within the hallowed chambers of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY on Wednesday after having to wait well over a year for his induction ceremony that was pushed back by COVID-19.
“As strange as this sounds or may sound, I’m trying not to think about it,” Jeter said last week. “I just want to go there and experience it. I’m trying to keep it out of my mind because I do want to go in there with no preconceived notions of what may happen. I want to experience it and try to enjoy it. It’s been a long time coming.”
The Yankees legend will be inducted alongside Larry Walker, Ted Simmons, and labor leader Marvin Miller — all of whom were elected last year. This Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) did not elect anyone in 2021.
Jeter ranks sixth on Major League Baseball’s all-time hit list with 3,465, trailing only Pete Rose, Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron, Stan Musial, and Tris Speaker. Four of those five are in the Hall of Fame with Rose being the lone exception after he was given a lifetime ban in 1989 for betting on baseball.
The 47-year-old is the Yankees’ all-time hit leader, garnering 14 All-Star Game selections in his 20-year career while winning the 2000 All-Star Game MVP in Atlanta, and five Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Awards.
The most impressive footnote upon his ledger, though, is his postseason play as one of the best October performers in MLB history. He led the Yankees to five World Series titles in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2009 and still holds MLB postseason records for hits (200), total bases (302), doubles (32) and triples (5). He also ranks third in home runs (20), fourth in RBI (61), and sixth in stolen bases (18).
“The most important thing during my career, what I wanted to be remembered as, I wanted to be remembered as a Yankee. That was it,” Jeter said. “That was the only team I ever wanted to play for since as far back as I could remember. As you start playing your career you start thinking about legacy. It’s much more than what you do on the field. It’s the legacy you leave off the field.
“I never wanted my career to be over and then for me to say, ‘Well, I wish I would have done a little bit more.’ Ultimately, you’re judged, especially in New York, by winning. They remember you if you win.”
He did just that, and now his plaque will finally adorn the walls of the great hall in Cooperstown.