Derek Jeter is Yankee royalty—and for good reason. The Yankees captain has led them to five World Series triumphs and an amazing 16 postseason appearances while collecting five Gold Gloves and more than 3,000 hits.
But his amazing career will end after the 2014 season. Fortunately, he’s already left us with numerous highlights that will be etched into our memories forever. Here are the most memorable 10:
10. The Game 7 Rally—Game 7 of the thrilling 2003 ALCS between the Yankees and Red Sox has long been marked as the game that Grady Little left in Pedro Martinez for too long—as well as the Aaron Boone home run game. But it was Jeter who started the game-tying rally. After looking like his night was done after seven innings, Pedro surprisingly came out for the eighth, with a 5–2 lead. He promptly gave up a one-out double to Jeter to start things off. Jeter then came around to score on Bernie Williams’s single as the Yankees scored three times in the inning and wound up winning in extras.
9. Captain Jeter—On June 11, 2003, Jeter was named the 11th captain of the New York Yankees—and first since Don Mattingly retired following the 1995 season. The Yankees were 33–23 at the time but had lost 20 of the previous 35 games. They would rally to win the division and the pennant before losing in the World Series to Josh Beckett and the Marlins.
8. 2000 All-Star Game MVP—Jeter has been an All-Star 13 times in his career and in 2000 he took home the All-Star Game MVP honors. Jeter batted second and started at shortstop and went 3-for-3 with a pair of RBIs and a run scored in the AL’s 6–3 win.
7. 2000 World Series MVP—Following his All-Star Game MVP performance, Jeter one-upped himself by winning the World Series MVP. In the process he became the first to win both MVP awards in the same season. The 26-year-old hit .409 in the five-game drubbing of the Mets. His leadoff home run in Game 4 turned back any momentum his rivals had after winning Game 3.
6. Jeter passes Gehrig—On Sept. 11, 2009, Jeter collected his 2,722nd hit, passing the legendary Lou Gehrig for most hits in a Yankee uniform. Now at 3,316 Jeter is No. 10 all-time (among all players) and is sure to move up this season. Should he collect 120 more hits, he’ll move up past Paul Molitor, Carl Yastrzemski, Honus Wagner, and Cap Anson and into sixth place. But a turn-back-the-clock season, where he collects 199 hits, will move him past Tris Speaker all the way into the No. 5 spot.
5. The Dive into the Stands—The Yankees/Red Sox rivalry has always been heated but in 2003–2004 it was hotter than ever. The two teams had finished 1–2 in the AL East every year from 1998–2005 and they met in the playoffs in 1999, 2003, and 2004. So even though it was just a regular season game between the two long-time rivals, on the night of July 1, 2004, Jeter was all out and into the stands for a pop fly off the bat of Trot Nixon to end the top of the 12th. The fly ball, which happened with runners on second and third, would have landed just fair behind third base in shallow left field. Instead the catch ended the rally and Jeter, bloodied up after going headfirst into the stands, was taken out. The Yankees won in 13 innings, 5–4.
4. Number 3,000—On July 9, 2011 Jeter collected his 3,000th career hit—a home run—as part of a five-hit performance, becoming the 28th member of the prestigious club. Jeter, who entered the game hitting just .257—this after hitting a career-low .270 the year before—caught fire and wound up with a .297 average that year—as a 37-year-old. The next season he continued to defy the odds, leading the league with 216 hits while batting .316.
3. The Jeffrey Maier Shot—Jeter, then a 22-year-old rookie was hitting all the way down in the nine-spot of the lineup in Game 1 of the1996 ALCS against Baltimore when he hit maybe the most controversial home run in playoff history. Down 4–3 in the bottom of the eighth, Jeter hit Baltimore reliever Armando Benitez’s first pitch to the right field wall when 12-year-old fan Jeffrey Maier reached out over the wall, and just above the outstretched glove of Tony Tarasco, to haul in the souvenir. Amazingly, the right field umpire, who was right there to make the call, ruled it a home run and the game was tied. Tarasco, Benitez, and manager Davey Johnson were livid, but the call stood and the Yankees eventually won the game in 11 innings, and the series in five.
2. Mr. November—In 2001, Jeter was playing in his fourth straight World Series and fifth in his six seasons in the major leagues. The season, and subsequently the series, had all been delayed a week due to 9/11. Game 4 was played on Halloween night against the Arizona Diamondbacks. With the Yankees down 2–1 in the series and the score tied at three in the bottom of the tenth, Jeter came to the plate facing Arizona closer Byung-Hyun Kim. Just after the clock struck midnight Jeter deposited Kim’s 3–2 offering over the right field fence for the game-winning (and first ever in November) home run. Thus Mr. November was born.
1. The Flip—There’s virtually no play to compare this to because it had never been done before and hasn’t been replicated since. But Jeter’s flip to home plate of Shane Spencer’s throw changed the momentum of the 2001 ALDS. Two series before Jeter’s heroics against Arizona saw the three-time defending champion Yankees in serious trouble. New York was down 2–0 in the series and clinging to a slim 1–0 seventh-inning lead on the road in Oakland when Terrence Long hit a shot down the first base line. Jeremy Giambi, on first base via a single, was off with the crack of the bat and when Spencer’s throw missed both cutoff men, and was angling away from catcher Jorge Posada, it looked like Oakland was going to tie it. But out of nowhere, Jeter darted into the picture and in one motion caught and flipped the ball to Posada, who applied the tag, just in time, to a non-sliding Giambi for the third out. The Yankees won the game 1–0 and the series in five.