A glimpse at Derek Jeter’s career firsts ahead of his inaugural Yankees Old-Timers’ Day

Derek Jeter at Yankee Stadium in his last game on September 25, 2014, and on return on May 14, 2017.

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Legendary shortstop and former Yankees captain Derek Jeter is set to attend his first Old-Timers’ Day at Yankee Stadium on September 09, 2023. With an exclusive question-answer session, it is set to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the 1998 Yankees, who went to win the season 114-48 and the post-season 11-2 to have the Yankees’ 24th World Series title.

The Captain Clutch was at the heart of that storied Yankees dynasty. Derek Jeter’s illustrious Yankees career was replete with five WS rings, 14-All-Star selections, one WS MVP, five Gold Gloves, five Silver Sluggers, and two Hank Aaron awards. Here are a look at his Yankees first while playing in pinstripes.

Derek Jeter’s first assist, May 29, 1995 was a double play

In his debut game, Derek Jeter notched his initial assist in the sixth inning with one out. The play unfolded when pitcher Jack McDowell handled a grounder and delivered it to the shortstop, who deftly tapped second base before making a precise throw to first baseman Don Mattingly, narrowly securing the double play. This marked the onset of a series of double plays, amounting to seven, that the rookie expertly orchestrated during the 120 innings he spent on the field in 1995.

Derek Jeter’s first hit on May 30, 1995, came after five hitless at-bats

Following his MLB debut in which he went hitless across five at-bats, Derek Jeter stepped up to lead off the fifth inning of the subsequent game. In his second plate appearance, he struck a sharp ground ball that evaded the diving attempt of Seattle’s third baseman Mike Blowers, securing his inaugural hit. He managed another single during the seventh inning and wrapped up the season with a total of 12 hits in 48 at-bats.

Derek Jeter’s first RBI on May 31, 1995, was against Johnson

Just a day after his initial hitless game, Derek Jeter notched his first run batted in (RBI) in the major leagues. This accomplishment occurred against renowned left-handed pitcher Randy Johnson, as the rookie delivered a single through the right side to plate Danny Tartabull. Over the course of that season, he went on to accumulate six additional RBIs, and his career concluded with an impressive total of 1,311 runs batted in.

Derek Jeter’s first hit at old Yankee Stadium on June 3, 1995

In the historic Yankee Stadium, Derek Jeter secured his inaugural hit by doubling down the left-field corner against the Angels, resulting in Randy Velarde scoring. This hit also marked the first instance of an extra-base hit in his career.

Derek Jeter hit first home run came vs. Cleveland on April 2, 1996

Derek Jeter swiftly connected with an inside fastball from Indians’ pitcher Dennis Martinez, sending it soaring into the left-field stands for his inaugural home run on the opening day of the 1996 season. Throughout that year, he added nine more homers to his record and was honored with the American League Rookie of the Year Award.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who served as the team’s starting catcher in that year, commented that the moment should have indicated to everyone the greatness that was ahead. He expressed that when observing a rookie, the realization of Derek Jeter amassing nearly 3,500 hits and becoming the player he is today might not have been immediate, but his character and passion for the game were evident. Girardi emphasized that Derek Jeter had a deep love for his craft and displayed exceptional skill in it.

Derek Jeter’s first leadoff homer came vs. Angels on Aug 21, 1996

In a game where the Yankees were behind 2-0 against the Angels, Derek Jeter launched the initial pitch of the bottom of the first inning right over the left-field fence, marking his inaugural leadoff home run. This achievement was the first of 29 leadoff home runs he would accumulate throughout his career.

Derek Jeter’s first walk-off hit on Sept 21, 1996

During a match between the Yankees and the Red Sox, the score was knotted at 11-11 in the bottom of the 10th inning. In this critical moment, Jeter stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded. Renowned for his clutch performances, he skillfully directed a single up the middle to drive in Wade Boggs for the winning run. This instance was just one of eight walk-off hits that punctuated his career, including two impressive home runs.

Derek Jeter’s first 200-hit season was in 1998

The 1998 season undoubtedly stands as one of the Yankees’ most remarkable years in history. With an astounding 114 victories under their belt, they clinched a triumphant victory against the Padres in the World Series. Amid this remarkable season, Derek Jeter achieved a significant milestone on September 25 by garnering over 200 hits in a single season for the first time in his illustrious 20-year career. This accomplishment, which he replicated eight times throughout his career, materialized with a well-timed swing on a hanging curveball. The ball elegantly sailed down the left-field line, resulting in a double that marked hit number 200 for Derek Jeter.

Derek Jeter had his first postseason hit on Oct 1, 1996

In his inaugural postseason appearance, Derek Jeter’s performance amounted to a 1-for-4 showing. However, his lone hit materialized under challenging circumstances, arriving when the Yankees were trailing the Rangers by a score of 6-2. This pivotal hit emerged in the ninth inning with one out remaining. Derek Jeter executed a well-placed chop that resulted in a single directed back up the center of the diamond. While this hit marked a modest contribution to the game, it hinted at the impressive journey that awaited the young player, foreshadowing the remarkable feats he would achieve as the future captain of the Yankees.

Derek Jeter made his first World Series hit on Oct 21, 1996

Confronting the legendary Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux during Game 2 of the 1996 World Series, Derek Jeter assumed the leadoff position in the bottom of the sixth inning. He executed a well-timed swing, resulting in a ground ball that found its way into right field for his inaugural hit in the Fall Classic. Despite this individual achievement, the Yankees suffered a defeat in the game, succumbing to a 4-0 loss that placed them at a 2-0 disadvantage in the Series. Nonetheless, the team rallied in the subsequent contests, clinching victory in the final four matches to secure the championship. This triumph, the Yankees’ first since 1978 and their 23rd in franchise history, underscored their resolute determination and collective prowess.

Which of the above you rank the best in Derek Jeter’s career? Leave your comment below.

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