Derek Jeter will be honored by having his number retired between games of the Astros-Yankees doubleheader on Sunday. But as his No. 2 is hung in Monument Park, the legendary Yankee will be paying homage to somebody else -- his mother.In a recent interview, Jeter revealed the decision to hold
Derek Jeter will be honored by having his number retired between games of the Astros-Yankees doubleheader on Sunday. But as his No. 2 is hung in Monument Park, the legendary Yankee will be paying homage to somebody else -- his mother.
In a recent interview, Jeter revealed the decision to hold his number-retirement ceremony on Mother's Day belonged to him, giving him a chance to recognize one of the most important people in his life.
"It was my choice," Jeter told Yankees Magazine. "I thought it would make it even more special. I have close relationships with my entire family, but I thought it was a great opportunity to do something special for my mom. She's been very important to me, always being positive and telling me from a young age that I could do anything I wanted to do, as long as I worked hard at it. I thought it was a good day to not only acknowledge my entire family, but especially my mom."
Jeter's relationship with his parents was well-documented throughout his career, so his decision should hardly be surprising. Since he was a rookie in 1995, Jeter has leaned on his parents, Dorothy and Charles, and his sister, Sharlee, as his biggest supporters.
"It's kind of strange to refer to my parents as people behind the scenes because of how close we've been," Jeter said. "They were there for every good game I had and every memorable moment I had. More importantly, they were there every time I struggled and had bad games. Every time I got hurt and needed someone to talk to, they were the people who were there for me. My dad always jokes around, saying he's played every single game with me. They've always been supportive, and this day is as much about them as it is about me. It's going to be a proud moment for them."
Joe Torre managed Jeter's first 12 full seasons in the Majors, forging quite a bond with the star shortstop. The former manager said Sunday night "will be a very proud moment" for him, though he's excited to reunite with the entire Jeter family as they gather at Yankee Stadium for the event.
"They're such a close-knit family," Torre told MLB.com. "They have their holidays together, they work on his Turn 2 Foundation together. Family is what it's all about for him. It's fun to be around him -- I really treasure those times. My wife, Ali, and I are looking forward to this weekend with a great deal of joy."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who was Jeter's teammate from 1996-99 and later managed him from 2008-14, believes Jeter is the person he is in large part because of his parents.
"I think both his parents had a big influence," Girardi said. "When you look at Derek, Derek always does things the right way. That comes from your upbringing. He handled New York extremely well. You never saw him doing anything but good things. I think his parents had a huge influence on him."
Like most kids, Jeter's dream was to play in the Majors, though he went one step further, saying he wanted to play shortstop for the Yankees. As unlikely as that may have been, his parents supported him and did whatever they could to help him work toward that goal.
"Teachers would always tell us that we needed to put other thoughts in his head," Dorothy told MLB.com for a Mother's Day story in 2004. "I'd always ask them, 'Why?' If his dream was to play baseball, who were we to tell him he couldn't, to try to stop him? If he believed in himself, we believed in him, too."
"Some people thought she was probably a little crazy at the time," Jeter said in the same story. "She always said I could do whatever I wanted. If I wanted to be an astronaut, she would have supported me on that, as long as I worked hard. She never discouraged me from anything I wanted to do."
Neither of his parents could have known the Draft would work out to make that a reality, though in a 2014 interview with the YES Network, Dorothy recalled the moment that Jeter was selected No. 6 overall in 1992.
"My favorite thing was the first day he was drafted," she said. "When he got the phone call, just to see his eyes light up, it was like, 'Wow, I can't believe this is happening.' I really do remember that being the most exciting to me."
From the moment Jeter was drafted until his career ended in 2014, his family witnessed countless exciting moments at Yankee Stadium, with Derek in the middle of them. They'll get one more of those moments on Mother's Day.
Mark Feinsand, an executive reporter, originally joined MLB.com as a reporter in 2001.