Bio: Derek Jeter 1992 USA Today’s High School Player Of The Year

June 4, 2014 by  

Bio: Derek Jeter 1992 USA Today’s High School Player Of The Year, His early days on the diamond in Kalamazoo were spent honing his skills in the Eastwood, Oakwood and Westwood Little Leagues. When he started playing high school ball in 1989, his talents helped him earn a spot on the Kalamazoo Central varsity team as a freshman. Derek also spent three years playing varsity basketball, earning honorable mention all-state. Derek’s younger sister, Sharlee, was multitalented as well, playing basketball, volleyball and softball. She also showed her diversity of talents as a member of the high school band.

After batting .557 with seven homers as a junior, Derek hit .508 (30-for-59) with four home runs, 23 RBIs, 21 walks and only one strikeout in 23 games his senior year. He got on base 63.7 percent of the time and tallied an impressive .831 slugging percentage. Derek collected several awards at season’s end, including the Kalamazoo Area B’nai B’rith Award for Scholar Athlete, the 1992 High School Player of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association, the 1992 Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year and USA Today’s High School Player of the Year.

That spring, the Yankees drafted Derek with the sixth overall pick in the 1992 MLB First-Year Player Draft. He was the first high school player chosen that year and became the third shortstop selected in Yankees history with a first-round pick. Derek also received a scholarship to play baseball at the University of Michigan, where he attended school in 1992 following his first summer of Minor League baseball.

In 1993, his first full year of professional baseball, Derek was voted the Most Outstanding Major League Prospect by South Atlantic League managers after hitting .295 with five home runs, 71 RBI and 18 stolen bases at Class A Greensboro. He was named to the All-Star team after finishing second in the league in triples (11), third in hits (152) and 11th in batting average. Derek was also voted by Baseball America as the South Atlantic League’s Best Defensive Shortstop, Most Exciting Player and Best Infield Arm.

Derek continued to improve, and in 1994, he was named the Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America, The Sporting News, USA Today Baseball Weekly and Topps/NAPBL after hitting .344 with five home runs, 68 RBI and 50 stolen bases combined at Triple-A Columbus, Double-A Albany and Class A Tampa. He was also named the Most Valuable Player of the Florida State League.

On May 29, 1995, Derek got his first taste of the Majors after Yankees shortstop Tony Fernandez was placed on the disabled list. His big league debut came in Seattle with Derek starting at shortstop alongside All-Star infielders Don Mattingly and Wade Boggs. The following day, Derek collected his first two Major League hits and scored his first career run.

In 1996, the Yankees made Derek their first Opening Day rookie shortstop since Tom Tresh in 1962. He responded by hitting his first Major League home run, a solo shot off Cleveland’s Dennis Martinez in the fifth inning of a 7-1 Yankees victory. Derek finished his rookie season with a .314 average, 10 home runs, 78 RBIs and 14 steals en route to winning the American League Rookie of the Year Award.

It was also during his rookie season that Derek established the Turn 2 Foundation to promote healthy lifestyles among youths. While sharing a pizza in a Detroit hotel room, Derek announced to his father that he was ready to start his own foundation. Then and there, they laid the plans for the Turn 2 Foundation. The Foundation was created with the goal of motivating young people to “turn to” healthy lifestyles and “turn away” from drugs and alcohol. Turn 2 has since awarded more than $16 million in grants to youth programs in West Michigan, New York City and the Tampa-St. Petersburg area.

In October of that memorable year, Derek got his first taste of postseason play, batting .361 to help lead the Yankees to their first World Series title since 1978. Derek was also part of one of the more memorable moments in postseason history in the eighth inning of Game 1 of the American League Championship Series against the Baltimore Orioles. His deep fly ball to right field at Yankee Stadium was cradled into the stands by 12-year-old Jeffrey Maier above the reach of Baltimore’s Tony Tarasco. The play was ruled a home run by right-field umpire Richie Garcia, and the solo shot tied the game at 4-4. The Yankees went on to win on Bernie Williams’ 11th-inning home run. The Bombers defeated the Orioles in five games, and in the World Series, they recovered from a two-games-to-none deficit to win the next four and clinch their first World Series in 18 years.

In 1997, Derek helped lead the Yankees back to the postseason, where they lost to Cleveland in the American League Division Series. Derek received his first MVP votes and finished third in the American League with 190 hits.

New York rebounded from 1997’s disappointment by winning a franchise-record 114 games in 1998. The Yankees captured their second World Series title in three years that season. Derek’s .324 average, 203 hits, 19 homers and 30 steals helped him earn the first of 12 All-Star appearances (1998-2002, 2004, 2006-11). Derek finished third in the MVP voting that season, the second-best finish of his career. He led the AL in runs scored (127) and set a Major League record for most runs scored by a shortstop in his first three full seasons (352), a record that had stood for 87 years.

The 1999 season was Derek’s greatest statistically and surely one of his greatest personally as well, as it ended in a third world championship. Derek set career highs in batting average (.349), on-base percentage (.438), slugging percentage (.552), home runs (24), RBIs (102), triples (nine) and walks (91). The Yankees won 98 games and the AL East in 1999. In the postseason, Jeter continued his torrid hitting, batting .375 as the Yankees lost just once on their way to defeating the Rangers, Red Sox and Braves for the World Series title.

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