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Derek Jeter

Derek Sanderson Jeter, b. June 26, 1974 in Pequannock, NJ, is one of baseball's top shortstops today, and has quickly earned a place in the lore of the fabled New York Yankees.

Named after a popular hockey player of the 1970's, Derek grew up in Michigan and while in Kalamazoo was reportedly voted "most likely to play shortstop for the New York Yankees" in junior high. Jeter helped make it a reality with a productive high school career. In 1992, he had a baseball scholarship to go to Michigan but the New York Yankees drafted him in the first round of the amateur draft. Jeter left the Wolverines behind to follow his dream.

He earned a taste of the bigs in 1995 as an injury replacement to Tony Fernandez, debuting only a month before turning 21. He showed enough talent to drive Fernandez out of town (and out of the country), and inherited his starting spot in 1996. It didn't take long for the Yankee faithful to take onto DJ, as he earned rookie of the year by having a solid all around year in which he his .314. He saved his best for the posteason, where he batted .361 in 15 playoff games en route to the Yankees' first world title in 18 years. His postseason was highlighted, in a way, by a home run in the League Championship Series, a home run that was very famously caught by 12-year Jeffrey Maier who reached over the wall (and technically onto the field of play) and stole the ball from Baltimore Orioles outfielder Tony Tarasco. Replays clearly showed fan interference, but it was nonetheless ruled a home run.

His sterling rookie season gained the young shortstop instant fame, his matinee idol looks quickly gained him even more. A highly eligible bachelor in New York, his love life became a hot topic among the press, most memorably a long affair with pop star Mariah Carey. This would prove to be a distraction for most players, but Derek had no such issues with them whatsoever. Despite the media's influence, he continued to produce. In the Yankees' incredible 1998 campaign, which they won 114 games, he kicked it up a notch by batting .324. Putting together his best year defensively as well, he earned his first all-star apperances and 3rd place in MVP voting.

While his 1998 was great, his 1999 was (statistically) better as he reached career highs in average, home runs, rbi's, and walks. This merely earned him 6th place honors though in MVP voting. 2000 made up for the misses in MVP award voting, as he won all-star MVP honors, and then World Series MVP honors as the Yankees took care of the Mets in the Subway Series. He continues to put up similar seasons as he did what he's always done in 2001 and 2002, hit solidly for average and for power, steal bases, and play steady defense. On June 3rd, 2003, he was named as the 11th team captain in Yankees history.

Jeter's class, consistency, leadership at a young age have made him an immediate hero in New York, as he has become the newest "Pride Of The Yankees".