Cleat Geeks

Jeter is A-maize-ing

The former New York Yankees great, who attended the University of Michigan briefly, was in the house when the Wolverines hosted No. 22 BYU on Saturday. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh gave the 41-year-old Jeter a blue jersey with No. 2 and Jeter in maize.GTY 490120826 S SPO FBC USA MI

Let’s look at his adolescence and what inevitably brought Derek Jeter to Michigan. Jeter was born in Pequannock Township, New Jersey, on June 26, 1974. His mother, Dorothy (née Connors), an accountant, is of Irish, as well as some German and English, ancestry. His father, Sanderson Charles Jeter, Ph.D., a substance abuse counselor, is African-American. They met while serving in the United States Army while they were both stationed in Germany. When Jeter was a child, his parents made him sign a contract every year that set acceptable and unacceptable forms of behavior. Dorothy instilled a positive attitude in her son, insisting that he not use the word “can’t”.

winfield-jeter-split-jpgThe Jeters lived in New Jersey until Derek was four years old, at which point they moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan. Jeter and his sister Sharlee lived in Kalamazoo with their parents during the school year and spent their summers with their grandparents in New Jersey. Attending New York Yankees games with his grandparents, Jeter became a passionate fan of the team. Watching Yankees player Dave Winfield inspired him to pursue a career in baseball.

Jeter attended Kalamazoo Central High School, where he ran cross country in the fall, played basketball in the winter and played baseball in the spring. Jeter posted high batting averages for the school’s baseball team; he batted .557 in his sophomore year and .508 as a junior. In his senior year, he batted .508 and compiled 23 RBI’s, 21 walks, four home runs, a .637 on base percentage, a .831 slugging percentage (SLG), 12 stolen bases (in 12 attempts), and only one strikeout.

Jeter received several honors after his senior season. These included an All-State honorable mention, distinguishing him as one of the best high school baseball players in Michigan, the Kalamazoo Area B’nai B’rith Award for Scholar Athlete, the 1992 High School Player of the Year Award from the American Baseball Coaches Association, the 1992 Gatorade High School Player of the Year award, and USA Today‍ ’​s High School Player of the Year. Kalamazoo Central High School inducted Jeter into its Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003 and renamed its baseball field in his honor in 2011. Jeter’s baseball talents drew the attention of the University of Michigan, who offered him a baseball scholarship to attend and play college baseball for the Michigan Wolverines baseball team.

NevinAstrosHal Newhouser, a scout for the then Houston Astros, evaluated Jeter extensively before the 1992 MLB Draft, with the Astros holding the first overall pick in the draft. Newhouser, convinced that Jeter would anchor a winning team, lobbied team management to select him. The Astros feared that Jeter would insist on a salary bonus of at least $1 million to forgo his college scholarship for a professional contract, so they passed on him, instead choosing Cal State Fullerton outfielder Phil Nevin, who signed with Houston for $700,000.

The Yankees, who selected sixth, also rated Jeter highly. Yankees scout Dick Groch, assigned to scout in the Midwest, watched Jeter participate in an all-star camp held at Western Michigan University. Though Yankees officials were concerned that Jeter would attend college instead of signing a professional contract, Groch convinced them to select him, saying, “the only place Derek Jeter’s going is to Cooperstown”. The second through fifth picks were Paul Shuey, B. J. Wallace (who never played in the majors),Jeffrey Hammonds, and Chad Mottola (125 career MLB at-bats and over 5,000 at-bats at AAA); those five would combine for two All-Star Game appearances (Nevin and Hammonds). The Yankees drafted Jeter, who chose to turn pro, signing for $800,000. Newhouser felt so strongly about Jeter’s potential that he quit his job with the Astros in protest after they ignored his drafting advice.JeterNevinCards

College was plan A but, plan B worked out well for the future Hall of Fame shortstop who played 20 seasons for the New York Yankees. A five-time World Series champion, Jeter is regarded as a central figure of the Yankees’ success of the late 1990s and early 2000s for his hitting, baserunning, fielding, and leadership. He is the Yankees’ all-time career leader in hits (3,465), doubles (544), games played (2,747), stolen bases (358), times on base (4,716),plate appearances (12,602) and at bats (11,195). His accolades include 14 All-Star selections, five Gold glove awards, five Silver Sluggar Awaeds, two Hank Aaron Award, and a Roberto Clemente Award. Jeter also became the 28th player to reach 3,000 hits and finished his career sixth all-time in career hits and the all-time MLB leader in hits by a shortstop.

The Yankees drafted him with the No. 6 pick overall in the 1992 amateur draft and signed him that year with a $700,000 bonus while paying him a total of $266 million in his career. I think financially, he made the right choice.

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