Jeter given rousing tribute for HOF induction

September 10th, 2022

NEW YORK -- Derek Jeter and his family waved as they rolled at slow speed across the Yankee Stadium outfield on Friday evening, savoring every ounce of this long-awaited celebration to honor the Yankees captain’s entrance into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Jeter exited the motorized cart and set foot on the infield grass, gripping a podium near home plate and delivering remarks to a nostalgia-drenched house ready to roll the clock back to the dynasty years. As he did, Jeter heard the familiar echoing chants of his name. He sensed that he was exactly where he belonged.

“I did miss the place. This is home for me,” Jeter said later. “I was here for 20 years, across the street and in this building. It’s 20 years where I played pretty much every day. This is where I feel most comfortable.”

And it is where the most recent Yankees Hall of Famer received a hero’s welcome, the only club for which he played rolling out a figurative red carpet to toast his 2020 selection (and pandemic-delayed 2021 induction) into the Cooperstown, N.Y., fraternity of the game’s greatest.

CC Sabathia, Tino Martinez, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Joe Torre were all introduced to the crowd, grinning and back-slapping ahead of Jeter’s parents, Charles and Dorothy, sister Sharlee and nephew Jalen.

The loudest cheers were heard as Jeter, his wife Hannah and daughters Bella, Story and River emerged from the loading dock in left-center field.

“When the crowd was chanting my name, I was trying to explain to my two oldest what was going on,” Jeter said. “I thought they may be a little scared or intimidated by the noise. But we saw that didn’t last very long.”

In his remarks, Jeter thanked managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner and the Steinbrenner family, who delivered a $222,222.22 donation in the name of Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation. When Steinbrenner’s name drew boos, Jeter responded, telling the crowd: “Let me tell you something. You’d better cheer. Trust me.”

Jeter went on to thank general manager Brian Cashman, prompting more jeers. Jeter quipped: “I see you guys are ready for the playoff push.”

“I was surprised. But they boo everybody here,” Jeter said. “I got in trouble once for not telling them to stop booing [Alex Rodriguez], so I figured I’d tell them this time. … Yankees fans expect excellence. They’re never satisfied, which is a good thing. Yankees fans boo because they want to win.”

Yankees manager Aaron Boone called Jeter “an all-timer for an all-time organization,” and in some ways, the ceremony felt like a time warp to May 2017. But much has changed since that Mother’s Day game, when the Bombers wore pink pinstripes and Jeter’s No. 2 was retired.

As Jeter spoke, his oldest daughters wandered toward home plate, with 5-year-old Bella tugging on her father’s pants. Her urgent request: the ice cream that Jeter promised if the girls sat in their seats through the ceremony.

“She was saying, ‘Tell them I’m getting ice cream,’” Jeter said. “So they lost the deal, but I’m pretty sure they’re having it right now.”

Jeter closed his remarks by acknowledging his absence from the Bronx; in part because of his years spent in the Marlins’ ownership group, Friday was only Jeter’s fourth public visit to Yankee Stadium since his retirement.

It was preceded by the Monument Park celebration, a reunion of the 1996 World Series champions and a screening of his “The Captain” documentary during a Bombers road trip this past summer.

To the crowd, Jeter remarked: “I know you guys haven’t seen a lot of me over the last few years, for various reasons. I really truly do look forward to hopefully seeing a lot more of you here in the near future.”

While Jeter has said that he is interested in another position within the sport, he said not to “read too much into” that comment as a hint of a formal position on-deck with the Yankees.

“My family is always going to come first, no matter what,” Jeter said. “But now if you take away [the Marlins] full-time commitment, every single day, I’m still very, very busy. But I’ll have some more time.”