Derek Jeter recalled from the podium in Cooperstown how good it felt to hear the applause of a crowd and the chants of “Derek Jeter” in the air.
On Wednesday, he was able to experience the sensation once again when “El Capitan” was officially inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was enshrined with Larry Walker, Ted Simmons and Marvin Miller as part of the class of 2020 that had their ceremony delayed a year due to the COVID pandemic. No one was voted into the Hall of Fame during voting in 2020.
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Jeter said that for the past 20 months, everyone has asked him how his Hall of Fame speech was going. He said it didn’t start until two months ago, and when he did, he had no idea how to start the speech.
“Where do you start? Who do you thank and frankly, considering the circumstances, who am I going to say it to and in front of whom? What can I say in 15 minutes that can cover my entire career? Say something meaningful, shocking and memorable, “Jeter said. “Finally, I said, ‘Stop overthinking and write how you feel.’ So let me start by congratulating Larry, Ted, and the late Marvin Miller. I mean, I am so honored to be included with you and linked to you forever. in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame class of 2020. “
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Although Jeter has at times been a polarizing figure in the sport, there is no question that his resume is worthy of being enshrined in the Hall of Fame. He is the 26th member of the 3,000-hit club to be inducted into the Hall of Fame after finishing his career with 3,465 hits. Jeter finished his career with a .310 / .377 / .440 cutoff line, threw 260 home runs, stole 358 bases and posted 73.0 WAR, according to Fangraphs. He won five World Series, was named All-Star 14 times, won a Gold Glove five times, and received a Silver Slugger five times.
When he was voted into the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America, he received 99.75 percent of the vote on his first ballot, a fact that he made sure to remind the crowd.
“Thanks to the baseball writers, all but one, who voted for me,” Jeter said, “and everyone who covered me during my career.”
Jeter spoke about the conversations he remembered having with Rachel Robinson, Jackie Robinson’s widow, and Hank Aaron, and how it affected his career. He also mentioned that while he had been told the induction would still feel as good now as it would have on the originally scheduled date in 2020, he felt the loss of the Hall of Fame legends who died during that time.
“The Hall of Fame is special because of those in it and we’ve lost too many Hall of Famers in the last 20 months and all of these are Hall of Famers who would have been or could have been here,” he said. Jeter. “And selfishly that’s why it’s not the same. Because when everyone asks about the nerves, they assume from the speech, what I can say or not say, the number of people who attend or watch at home. No, no, no. Nerves It’s because these guys are after me right now and everyone who is part of the Hall of Fame family. Because you know that the best thing about baseball is its history and that’s what makes it so special. “
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Jeter spoke about his parents, his desire to grow up as a Yankees player, and the impact his wife, Hannah, and daughters, Story Gray and Bella Raine, have had on him.
He concluded his speech by addressing current MLB players and young children waiting to play the game. He said that the game requires “sacrifice, dedication, discipline and concentration”, and that through the game, players will learn to work as a team and be humble.
“The only common thread with all of us here on stage is that we understand that there is no individual greater than the game,” Jeter said. “The game continues. It continues thanks to the great fans we have. So take care of it, protect it, respect it, do not take for granted the time you have to play. And remember the most important thing like me As I said before, it is more than just a game The best thing I’ve ever played in the Hall of Fame family, everyone is watching. And personally, I can’t wait to welcome some of you on this very stage, just as I have been for many. others. So thank you all once again, it has been an incredible journey. “
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.