NEW YORK -- As Derek Jeter rounded the bases for his 3,000th career hit in 2011, having become the first Yankees player to reach the milestone, television announcer Michael Kay proclaimed that the captain’s homer off the Rays’ David Price had constituted “history -- with an exclamation point!”
That phrase accurately describes most of Jeter’s terrific 20-year career wearing the pinstripes, a succession of indelible entries into baseball history, many of which are instantly recognizable with just a few words: The Flip Play. The Dive. Mr. November.
With Tuesday’s announcement that Jeter had been elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year on the ballot, one vote shy of being a unanimous selection, here are 10 of Jeter’s most memorable moments, in chronological order:
1. The kid can play
April 2, 1996 at Indians
As the 1996 season dawned, George Steinbrenner was not sure his starting shortstop belonged in the Majors, even pushing his baseball people to swap Mariano Rivera to the Mariners for veteran Felix Fermin. They wisely resisted, and Jeter began to win over The Boss with a strong Opening Day performance that featured a nifty over-the-shoulder grab and his first big league homer, a blast off Cleveland’s Dennis Martinez.
2. Angel in the outfield
Oct. 9, 1996 vs. Orioles
Jeter’s biggest home run of his American League Rookie of the Year Award-winning campaign came with some assistance in Game 1 of the 1996 AL Championship Series, as 12-year-old fan Jeffrey Maier prevented Baltimore outfielder Tony Tarasco from grabbing Jeter’s eighth-inning drive off Armando Benitez. Despite Tarasco’s immediate objection, umpire Richie Garcia ruled it a home run. The Yankees won, 5-4, in 11 innings, and went on to win the ALCS in five games.
3. Midsummer MVP
July 11, 2000 vs. National League
Jeter was selected to 14 All-Star Games during his career, and his finest performance came in the 2000 Midsummer Classic at Atlanta’s Turner Field, having been elected as the AL’s starting shortstop for the first time. Jeter finished the game 3-for-3 with a double and two RBIs, leading the AL to a 6-3 victory.
4. Subway star
Oct. 25, 2000 at Mets
The Mets showed signs of life as the Subway Series shifted venues to Shea Stadium, securing a 4-2 victory over the Yankees in Game 3 of the World Series. It took all of one pitch for Jeter to reverse the momentum, blasting Bobby Jones’ first pitch of Game 4 over the left-field wall. The Yankees won the game, 3-2, and Jeter finished the World Series batting .409 with two homers and six runs scored to earn MVP honors.
5. The Flip Play
Oct. 13, 2001 vs. Athletics
Jeter always seemed to be in the right place at the right time, but never more than in Game 3 of the AL Division Series against the A’s. With the Yankees clinging to a 1-0 lead, Terrence Long smacked a Mike Mussina pitch down the right-field line. Shane Spencer fielded the ball, then wildly overthrew both cutoff men. Jeter appeared near the first-base foul line, shoveling the ball to catcher Jorge Posada. Oakland's Jeremy Giambi did not slide, and he was tagged out.
6. Mr. November
Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 2001 vs. D-backs
With the World Series pushed back a week by the tragic events of Sept. 11, Game 4 inched past midnight into November, having been tied by Tino Martinez’s two-run ninth-inning homer off closer Byung-Hyun Kim. Jeter ended the contest with an opposite-field blast that tied the Fall Classic at two games apiece. As Jeter rounded the bases, a well-prepared fan hoisted a sign that proclaimed him, “Mr. November.”
7. The Dive
July 1, 2004 vs. Red Sox
The rivalry between the Red Sox and Yankees was arguably never more intense than during this period, when Jeter chased a ball into the field-level seats at Yankee Stadium and emerged with his face bloodied. The play occurred in the 12th inning with the game tied, 4-4, as Jeter flagged a Trot Nixon flare that could have dropped for a two-run single. Instead, Jeter saved the day and John Flaherty ended the game with a single in the 13th.
8. Passing the Iron Horse
Sept. 11, 2009 vs. Orioles
With 2,721 hits, Lou Gehrig had stood as the Yankees’ all-time hit leader for more than 70 years. Jeter surpassed the Hall of Famer on a drizzly evening in The Bronx, smacking a single to right field off Chris Tillman for career hit 2,722. Play halted in New York’s eventual 10-4 loss as Jeter’s teammates emerged from the dugout to celebrate the accomplishment.
9. Mr. 3,000
July 9, 2011 vs. Rays
Before Jeter stepped into the batter’s box on this day, Wade Boggs had been the only player in history to homer for his 3,000th hit. That changed as Jeter pounded a hanging breaking ball into the left-field bleachers, becoming the 28th player in history -- and first Yankee -- to reach 3,000 hits. Jeter finished the day 5-for-5, including a game-winning hit in the eighth inning.
10. Farewell to The Bronx
Sept. 25, 2014 vs. Orioles
Playing his final game in pinstripes, Jeter laced a game-winning hit off Baltimore’s Evan Meek, slashing his trademark inside-out single to right field as Antoan Richardson raced home with the deciding run in New York’s 6-5 victory. The moment was bittersweet for Jeter, as the Yankees had already been eliminated from playoff contention, and it marked his only walk-off hit at the current Yankee Stadium.