The 15 Greatest Single-Game Performances of Derek Jeter’s MLB Career
Derek Jeter's Best 15 Games
Wednesday was one of the saddest days in recent New York Yankees history, as Derek Jeter announced that 2014 would be his final season.
Jeter has been a staple in the Yankee infield since 1996 when he won Rookie of the Year and a World Series in his first full season. The rest of his career went quite well.
Much of Jeter's heroics came via the postseason, where he holds the record for most hits ever. The postseason has given him nicknames, made fans famous, announced one of the best plays in Yankees history in just two words, and so much more.
The biggest part that will be missed about Jeter is the way he carried himself around New York. He could date industry giants like Jessica Alba, Mariah Carey and Scarlett Johansson without ever ending up on Page Six or TMZ. He bled Yankee blue and was the perfect captain. Any fan that says he hates them was only speaking out of envy. Even most Boston Red Sox fans respected the player and man that Jeter was.
The effect of his retirement on the franchise may be felt for years to come; he isn't being pushed out by an up-and-coming hot shot. Joe Girardi said he was "shocked" by Jeter's decision. There will be plenty of time to discuss this when he is gone from the game, but for now, we must appreciate the moments he gave us over the past two decades and the moments we will see over the next year. Let's take a look of the 15 best games of Derek Jeter's career.
Nick Villano is the New Jersey Devils writer for Rant Sports. He also adds to the site's NFL, MLB and NBA content. You can follow him on Twitter here.
15. June 9, 2004 vs. Colorado Rockies
Some of these games may be hard to remember when it comes to the doldrums of the regular season, as we see Jeter on an average of 165 games every year. This one sticks out because it was possible he was not supposed to play, but he ended up being the season for the team's win. His only hit in his return was a home run in the seventh inning that put his team up 6-5 in the seventh inning. Bernie Williams homered immediately after him to put the game out of reach.
14. August 11, 2005 vs. Texas Rangers
This game just showed why Jeter's nickname is Captain Clutch. When the Yankees need him, he delivers. The Texas Rangers have just scored four runs in the top of the seventh inning to tie the game at eight a piece. Jeter came up in the bottom half to lead off and hit a home run to put the team ahead for good. He ended the day three for six, and all of his hits went for extra bases.
13. May 4, 2001 @ Baltimore Orioles
This looks like a regular old day for Jeter. He went 2-for-5 with no homeruns and scored two runs. The reason it is on this list is because he did something he only did once in his career -- steal home. It is one of the most exciting plays in sports, and the attempted steal of home isn't used that often. The fact that Jeter made it part of his resume shows the player he was.
12. April 2, 1996 @ Cleveland Indians
The start of Jeter in opening day in 1996 was a thing of controversy. They almost pulled the trigger on a trade for a short stop that would have sent Mariano Rivera out of pinstripes. Thankfully that trade never happened, and Jeter hit his first ever home run on opening day. He had an even better game the next day.
11. October 3, 2006 vs. Detroit Tigers
This may have been Jeter's best statistical postseason game of Jeter's career. He went 5-for-5 while scoring three runs, hitting two doubles and a home run. He led the Yanks to an 8-4 opening game victory over the Detroit Tigers.
10. September 19, 2001 @ Chicago White Sox
When 9/11 hit New York, people of the country, and especially that city, just wanted something to escape their scary reality. Jeter spent the next two games coming back from the break and his injury by going 3-for-4 on the 18th, their first game back. On the 19th, he upped the ante. He hit two home runs against the Chicago White Sox which helped Roger Clemens become the first person ever to start the season 20-1.
9. October 9, 1996 vs. Baltimore Orioles
Jeffrey Maier was a hopefully professional baseball player, and he is currently an MLB scout. He was a special consultant for the ESPN show "The Bronx Is Burning." He is also famous, but not for any of these reasons -- he reached over the railing and pulled in a Jeter home run over Tony Tarasco. This will forever be associated with the start of Jeter.
There is no way you can forget 1999, as it was such a great year for Jeter, even though it is hard to pinpoint one game. his sounds like a cop out, but how are you going to leave out a season where he hit .349 with 24 home runs and 102 RBIs?
Looking back, 1999 may have been the statistically best season in all of baseball. Jeter also had 219 hits and 134 runs, both career highs. His .990 OPS is so much higher than any other season he had, which is saying something since he had very few "down" years.
7. July 11, 2000 vs. National League All-Stars
The weird thing about this game is that Jeter wasn't even supposed to start, but he had to when Alex Rodriguez missed the game with a head injury. He went 3-for-3 with two RBIs in the American League's 6-3 victory and won MVP honors.
6. October 25, 2000 @ New York Mets
Jeter would be the only guy with an All-Star MVP and a World Series MVP. He started off this game with a home run, which set the tone for the game. The Yankees ended up winning 3-2 on Jeter's two runs, one coming from the HR and another coming off his triple.
5. September 11, 2009 vs. Baltimore Orioles
On the eight year anniversary of the worst day in New York's history, Jeter passed possibly New York's best athlete. Lou Gehrig had owned the record since he retired in 1938, and it only took more than 70 years to find someone to pass his hits record. On this date, Jeter did just that; it took that long to find someone who could match the heart and toughness of the Iron Horse.
4. July 1, 2004 vs. Boston Red Sox
Some describe it as one of the best regular season games in history. Why would a game where Jeter only got one hit in the regular season be N0. 4 on this list? Because of the plays he made in the field. Most notably, his head first dive into the stands which he came up bloody from. He left the game and watched his team come back with some great plays from A-Rod and a walk off hit by John Flaherty.
3. July 9, 2011 vs. Tampa Bay Rays
Jeter is by no means a power hitter, but when he hits home runs, they have a tendency to be dramatic. He ended up going 5-for-5 with his 3,000 hit being a leadoff home run. It was one of the best moments, and best calls, in Yankees history.
2. November 1, 2001 vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
Mr. November. That's all you have to say to know how important this game was.
Because of the 9/11 attacks, baseball had been moved back a week, which meant we were going to see November baseball. Jeter didn't take long to make that his. An inning after Tino Martinez made it a tie game with a two run home run in the bottom of the ninth, the clock struck midnight on Halloween. It was now November. A few minutes later, Jeter sent the New York fans home happy with a game winning home run.
1. October 13, 2001 @ Oakland Athletics
The Flip is the most famous play of the New York Yankee dynasty -- more famous than anything Andy Pettitte did. It tops anything that Paul O'Neill did as well, and Bernie Williams doesn't have a moment like it.
It was a split second play that Jeter did on pure reaction. He took Shane Spencer's throw from the right field corner and in one fell swoop, sent it to Jorge Posada to tag out Jeremy Giambi at home plate. It saved Mike Mussina'a shutout and saved the Yankees from being swept by the A's. They ended up winning that series and going to the World Series.