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Derek Jeter the ultimate winner

When thinking about an icon or a figure that has left a mark in my life and I believe several others, I didn’t have to think long.  Being an avid sports fan, I think there will always be the great athletes that have god given talents and abilities and a pleasure to watch.  However, I believe no other athlete in my time can compare to Derek Jeter, the shortstop for the New York Yankees.  I can still remember the first time I saw Derek Jeter, I was ten years old and he was a rookie playing in his first full Major League season, in 1996. He was only 22 years old but had already had the buildup from the sports experts to be the next great Yankee player.   After 15 seasons I think he lived up to everything and more.  Playing in New York, the biggest media market in all of sports, Derek Jeter has yet to say or do anything wrong publically.  He carries himself with class on and off the field.  He has had nothing short of success, he has won 5 world championships, been an 11 x all-star, and earned several gold gloves, but most importantly, year after year, the Yankees win, that’s valued in New York.  He has yet to make a mistake publically off the field.  We all know the Tiger Woods scandal, the Michael Vick story, even the “Great One”, Wayne Gretzky has had his problems away from the ice when he was alleged to have been involved in a gambling scandal, but Derek Jeter, nothing, nothing at all.  When he wins, he says little, when he loses he says less, he is quietly humble but very confident.  Growing up playing both baseball and hockey, I can still recall my teammates and friends and myself wanting to be like Jeter on and off the field. From the age of around 12 years old, all the way up to 17 years old, we wanted to be like Jeter. We wanted to wear the same cleats, the same batting gloves, the same fitted Yankee hat, drink the Gatorade he drinks. We wanted to do it all, mimicked his stance, his swing, the way he ran on the field, the way he stood in the on deck circle, we admired  all of it. He was the ultimate player; he won all the time and it was Jeter always making the key play when the game was on the line.  Jeter was always coming up with the clutch hit or catch. But unlike most athletes, we also all wanted to be like Jeter away from the field.  He rarely drank alcohol, avoided drugs, and treated women with respect.  Teammate and best friend Jorge Posada said, “He is everything the media perceieves him to be, he has one drink he refuses to drive, his image is everything to him, but he cares more about his character then his reputation.”  The New York media has tried for years to catch Jeter going against what he says publically; they’ve tried but haven’t prevailed.  Out of all the great Yankees, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle, all arguably had more natural talent then Jeter, but at the end of the day when Jeter retires, he will stand right beside them. He is a winner on the field and off the field, a true role model. 

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