Yankees ready for ‘big deal’ as Derek Jeter debuts at Old-Timers’ Day

Yankees legend Derek Jeter with Sharlee Jeter, his sister and president of Turn 2 Foundation.

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Almost a decade following his last Yankees game, Derek Jeter is set to participate in Old-Timers’ Day for the first time. This much-anticipated debut is a “big Deal” for the Yankees.

The 49-year-old Hall of Fame shortstop and former team captain will be wearing his iconic “No. 2” jersey on Saturday, as part of the celebration for the 25th anniversary of the 1998 World Series championship team during the 75th edition of the annual event at Yankee Stadium.

Yankees manager and former teammate Aaron Boone acknowledged the significance of Derek Jeter’s visit, stating that it was a big deal because the legend was a highly regarded figure. He expressed excitement about Derek Jeter’s presence and anticipated that the fan base would be enthusiastic about it. He also noted that the players on the team were looking forward to it.

“That’s a big deal. It’s Derek Jeter,” Boone said. “Pretty cool, pretty cool. I know obviously the fan base is going to be pretty juiced about it, and frankly, all of our players.”

Boone noted the significance of the day for alumni and former Yankees players, mentioning that they had this day marked on their calendars and found it meaningful.

He expressed that it would be a positive experience for the alumni and former Yankees players to have the opportunity to see Derek Jeter. Additionally, they believed that every current Yankee player was eagerly anticipating the encounter.

Aaron Judge is also excited to have Derek Jeter

Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Jorge Posada from the Core Four have attended Old-Timers’ Day in recent times. However, Derek Jeter, during his time as a part-owner of the Marlins and while raising his four children with his wife Hannah, chose not to participate.

Aaron Judge, who became the Yankees’ captain in December, expressed how much the team has felt Derek Jeter’s absence.

New York Yankees shortstop legend Derek Jeter

Judge mentioned that it would be wonderful to have Derek Jeter on the field. He acknowledged his status as a former captain and the numerous championships he had won, emphasizing his iconic status. Judge believed that Derek Jeter’s presence would be particularly exciting for the fans and the young players on the team. He looked forward to the experience and anticipated it would be enjoyable for everyone involved.

Judge also reminisced about his initial encounter with the 14-time All-Star, which took place shortly after he was selected in the first round of the 2013 draft.

Judge reflected on his initial interaction with Derek Jeter, mentioning that it had been brief. He recalled that it had occurred shortly after he was drafted, and Jeter was rehabbing his ankle in Tampa. Judge found it special to have the opportunity to talk to Derek Jeter during that time. He noted that the Yankees legend had known his name, and although he humorously considered the possibility that it was because his name was above his locker, it had meant a lot to him.

Judge added that their relationship had continued to develop and strengthen over the years.

Aaron Judge and Derek Jeter
AP Photo/Seth Wenig

When asked about what he most attempts to emulate from Derek Jeter’s leadership style, Judge explained that the most significant lesson he learned from Captain Clutch was the importance of accountability. He emphasized that the legend consistently displayed accountability, whether in good or bad times and admired his readiness to answer questions in every situation while having consistent presence and readiness to play every day. While he could list numerous qualities, Judge highlighted that being accountable was the top priority for him.

Additional attendees on Saturday will encompass other figures from the 1998 Yankees, such as Joe Torre, David Wells, David Cone, Paul O’Neill, Tino Martinez, Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez, Scott Brosius, Jeff Nelson, Mike Stanton, Graeme Lloyd, Ramiro Mendoza, coach Willie Randolph, Tim Raines, Darryl Strawberry, Shane Spencer, Luis Sojo, Homer Bush, and various others, alongside numerous individuals representing diverse periods in the team’s history.

For the second consecutive year, there won’t be an Old-Timers’ game but a question-and-answer session.

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