Few baseball players have been more thoroughly covered by the media than new Marlins part-owner Derek Jeter. But here are 25 things you might not know about the New York Yankees legend.
▪ No. 1: Long before he became a baseball star, Jeter was a fairly accomplished basketball player. He was a shooting guard on an AAU team in Kalamazoo, Michigan, that played against the likes of Detroiters Chris Webber and Jalen Rose. Word is Jeter was a good three-point shooter.
▪ No. 2: Jeter’s parents — Charles and Dorothy — met in 1972 in Frankfurt, Germany, where they were both stationed with the U.S. military. Dorothy, of Irish-German descent, went on to become an accountant. Charles, who is African American, was a substance abuse counselor.
▪ No. 3: Jeter was born in Pequannock, New Jersey, but the family moved to Kalamazoo when he was 4 years old because his father was pursuing a Ph.D. at Western Michigan University.
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▪ No. 4: In 2006, Jeter launched a cologne with Avon called “Driven.” It is described as a “woodsy, aromatic” fragrance with top notes of spices, grapefruit and oakmoss; middle notes of lavender, rhubarb, mint and cardamom, and base notes of musk and bamboo. It must have sold well because in 2013, Avon launched a second Jeter fragrance called Rush.
▪ No. 5: One reason Jeter chose to play shortstop is that his father, Charles, played that position for Fisk University in Nashville.
▪ No. 6: Jeter’s sister, Sharlee, is five years younger and was a high school softball standout. Jeter is extremely close with his nephew, Sharlee’s son, Jalen.
▪ No. 7: In fourth grade, when he was 9, Jeter stood in front of his class at St. Augustine Cathedral School and said he wanted to play shortstop for the New York Yankees. He had a full Yankees uniform hanging in his bedroom.
▪ No. 8: Jeter, 43, is married to Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Hannah Davis, a 27-year-old native of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, who competed on the junior tennis circuit. She was on the cover of the 2015 SI swimsuit issue and also modeled for Victoria’s Secret, American Eagle Outfitters, Levi’s, Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren perfume. They reportedly started dating in the summer of 2012, and Jeter proposed in the fall of 2015. They married on July 9, 2016, in Napa Valley and about 100 guests attended. Their daughter, Bella, was born Aug. 17, 2017.
▪ No. 9: Before committing to Davis, Jeter was linked to many models and actresses, including Mariah Carey, Jessica Alba, Lara Dutta, Vida Guerra, Jessica Biel, Scarlett Johansson, and Minka Kelly.
▪ No. 10: When Jeter was starting high school, his parents made him sign a contract agreeing to rules about curfew, drugs and alcohol and how to treat girls.
▪ No. 11: Jeter was drafted out of high school by the Yankees on June 1, 1992, with the sixth overall pick. The five players taken before him? Phil Nevin (Astros), Paul Shuey (Indians), B.J. Wallace (Expos), Jeffrey Hammonds (Orioles), and Chad Mottola (Reds).
▪ No. 12: In 1993, Jeter made 56 errors in 126 games for Class A Greensboro.
▪ No. 13: He made his Major League Baseball debut on May 29, 1995, and it was a forgettable game. Jeter went 0 for 5 in an 8-7 loss to the Seattle Mariners.
▪ No. 14: Why did Jeter wear jersey No. 2? According to Ian O’Connor’s 2011 book “The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter,” then-Yankees manager Buck Showalter asked owner George Steinbrenner if Jeter could get a coveted single-digit shirt for his big league debut. Steinbrenner agreed. A year later, when he joined the majors full-time in February 1996, the equipment manager wanted to give him No. 19 — partly because Milwaukee Brewers’ great Robin Yount, a shortstop, wore that number. But Jeter asked if he could keep No. 2. Twenty-one years later, his jersey was retired in May 2017.
▪ No. 15: In 1996, Jeter started the Turn 2 Foundation, a charitable organization that helps children and teenagers avoid drug and alcohol addiction, and rewards those who show high academic achievement and stay out of trouble. Jeter’s family members are on the Board of Directors. His father, Charles, has been president, and his sister, Sharlee, is the current President.
▪ No. 16. Jeter definitely knows how to win. Only three players in MLB history played in more winning games: Pete Rose (2,011), Hank Aaron (1,742), and Carl Yastrzemski (1,727). Jeter played in 1,722 victories, ahead of Stan Musial, Brooks Robinson and Willie Mays.
▪ No. 17: Jeter is known for being sensible with his money. When he was drafted out of high school in 1992, he got an $800,000 signing bonus, with which he bought a Mitsubishi 3000GT, and invested the rest of the money.
▪ No. 18: Always a good student, Jeter had a 3.82 GPA at Kalamazoo Central High School.
▪ No. 19: Jeter’s endorsement portfolio has included Ford, VISA, Gatorade, Nike, Gillette, Movado Watches, Oreos, Chips Ahoy!, Ritz Crackers, and Skippy Peanut Butter.
▪ No. 20: Jeter’s favorite player growing up was Dave Winfield. When he was 12, he got Winfield’s autograph in the Tiger Stadium parking lot.
▪ No. 21: Talk about reaching a milestone with a bang. Jeter’s 3,000th hit was a home run. The only other player to hit a homer for his 3,000th hit was Wade Boggs.
▪ No. 22: Christian Lopez, the man who caught Jeter’s 3,000th hit, gave the ball back to him and didn’t ask for anything in return. The Yankees rewarded him with tickets and signed memorabilia.
▪ No. 23: His senior season at Kalamazoo Central High, Jeter batted .508 with 23 RBI, 21 walks, 4 home runs and just one strikeout
▪ No. 24: Jeter’s middle name is Sanderson.
▪ No. 25: The Louisville Slugger P72, the only bat Jeter used for 14,000 at-bats during his entire pro career, is the only model number the bat maker has ever retired in its 133-year history. According to a May 2017 article in the Sports Business Daily: “After using the model during his first two years in the minors, a 19-year-old Jeter placed his first official order for 12 black, flame tempered, ash bats in March 1994, when he was about to begin playing for the Single-A Florida State League Tampa Yankees. The MLB club placed the order on his behalf until June 1999, when he signed his first ‘Bat Contract’ directly with Louisville Slugger. The nearly quarter-century relationship has included 234 separate orders for a total of 4,375 bats. Louisville Slugger VP/Corporate Communications Rick Redman said, ‘Jeter is the most loyal customer in Louisville Slugger’s storied history.’ ”