By Brad Faber @Brad_Faber on June 2, 2014
Derek Jeter, the captain of the New York Yankees and the man who many consider to be the face of baseball, will be retiring after the 2014 season. For those of us who have grown up watching him, it seems hard to believe that the soon-to-be 40-year-old will don the pinstripes for the final time this fall -- at least as a player. Let's celebrate his career by taking a look at five admirable traits he has displayed over the past two decades.
It is sometimes easy to lose sight of the fact that Jeter is a guy who has battled adversity. In 1992, during his first year in professional baseball, he batted a combined .210 while splitting time between rookie ball and class-A Greensboro. He is also the man who, at 38 years old, led all of MLB with 216 hits in 2012, when everyone thought he was on the decline after his mediocre 2010 and 2011 seasons. He is a great model for perseverance.
There is a reason why they call Jeter the Captain. He was actually a leader well before he was given that title in 2003. Those who have played with him and know him well have nothing but incredible praise for him and his leadership. Earlier this year, Fortune Magazine actually named Jeter the 11th-best leader in the entire world. The fact that an athlete ranked so highly on that list is truly a testament to his ability to lead.
In an age where players are constantly abandoning their original teams in search for the top dollar on the open market, it is truly refreshing to see players such as Chipper Jones, Mariano Rivera and Jeter spend their entire careers with the same organization. Jeter always dreamed of being a Yankee when he was growing up. Once his dream became a reality, he never left the Bronx.
Jeter's respect for the integrity of the game has been well established. It needs to be noted that Jeter has racked up 3,367 hits and helped the Yankees win five championships -- and he did it cleanly. There is not a shred of evidence to suggest otherwise. Jeter played through the height of the steroid era, and even without the juice, he will go down in history as one of the best players of not only during that period, but of all time.
Jeter's work off of the field is equally as noteworthy as his work on the field. In 1996, at just 22 years of age, Jeter launched the Turn 2 Foundation, which is aimed towards steering troubled youth in the right direction and promoting healthy lifestyles. Nearly two decades later, he remains dedicated to the organization. It is great to see an athlete who has found success turn his attention toward helping others achieve their goals.
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