Baseball Immortal: Derek Jeter: A Career in Quotes

Baseball Immortal: Derek Jeter: A Career in Quotes

by Danny Peary


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781624141621
Publisher: Page Street Publishing
Publication date: 09/15/2015
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Danny Peary is an acclaimed baseball historian and film critic. He edited Cult Baseball Players and We Played the Game, and collaborated on Tim McCarver's Baseball for Brain Surgeons and Other Fans, Roger Maris: Baseball's Reluctant Hero, Gil Hodges, and Ralph Kiner's Baseball Forever. He lives in New York City and Sag Harbor, New York.

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Baseball Immortal Derek Jeter

A Career in Quotes

By Danny Peary

Page Street Publishing Co.

Copyright © 2015 Danny Peary
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-62414-183-6


The Education of a Ballplayer

"I have been playing baseball as long as I remember."

— Derek Jeter, Game Day, 2001

"[Derek Jeter] was raised in a loving but very disciplined household by his mother, Dorothy, an Irish-American accountant, and his father, Charles, an African-American substance-abuse counselor. Charles and Dorothy met when they were both serving in the military and stationed in Europe ... Charles became the kind of man many would consider a role model — a solid student and a gifted athlete, he put himself through college at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, where he played for the school team ... He lacked the resources to launch a major league career, and later he happily settled into family life with Dorothy near her New Jersey hometown of West Milford. Derek was born on July 26, 1974, [in the Chilton Memorial Hospital] in the New Jersey town of Pequannock."

— Robert Craig, Derek Jeter: A Biography, 1999

"When he was four, his family moved from West Milford to Kalamazoo, [Michigan,] a city of 75,000, so that his father, Charles, could pursue his doctorate at Western Michigan University. The family first lived in the Mount Royal Townhouse Complex near the college."

— Brian Costello, about the complex where the Jeters lived for six years, New York Post, July 11, 2011

"The blue, split-level home [at 2415 Cumberland Street] is where Jeter's journey to baseball immortality took off. ... Jeter was molded here on this quiet Midwestern street. The arm that would eventually rocket throws to first base first threw balls off the side of the house until one of his parents came out to play with him. The swing was developed with thousands of practice cuts on a hitting contraption set up in the one-car garage. The endless confidence was developed in a house where the word 'can't' was banned, where his and his [younger] sister, Sharlee's, achievements were hung on the family room's Wall of Fortune."

— Brian Costello, New York Post, July 11, 2011

"[Until he was thirteen] Derek and his sister, Sharlee, continued to spend summers in West Milford, N.J., at the home of his grandparents, William and Dot Connors. Jeter may have inherited his athletic prowess from his father ... but he acquired his love of the Yankees from his grandmother. ... Dot would tell Derek about the time she went to Yankee Stadium, a few days after Babe Ruth's death in 1948, to walk past the slugger's casket at home plate and pay her respects."

— Kelly Whiteside, Sports Illustrated Presents: The Champs! 1996 New York Yankees: A Special Collector's Edition, November 13, 1996

"The Yankees games were on television. ... My grandmother watched a lot of them, so I just watched with her. It started with my grandmother. Pretty much since the time I started watching baseball, I was a Yankee fan."

— D.J.

"Dorothy was one of fourteen children, so Derek spent his early years surrounded by a huge extended family, many of whom were avid Yankee fans."

— Robert Craig, Derek Jeter: A Biography, 1999

"My uncle used to have season tickets and ... we used to go to the games all the time."

— D.J., who was six when his grandmother took him to his first game at Yankee Stadium, which he said looked bigger than any place he had ever seen

"All his cousins would still be sleeping, and he would say, 'C'mon, Gram, let's throw.' He wanted to be a pitcher then. I was his catcher. Even as a little kid his throw would almost knock me over."

— Dot Connors, Derek's maternal grandmother

"At home, Derek wore a Yankee cap and T-shirt."

— Robert Craig, Derek Jeter: A Biography, 1999

"When Derek was a kid, two of his most prized possessions were a gold Yankees medallion and a blue Yankees windbreaker."

— Kelly Whiteside, Sports Illustrated Presents: The Champs! 1996 New York Yankees: A Special Collector's Edition, November 13, 1996

"Legend has it that at the age of five, Derek told everybody he would someday be the Yankees starting shortstop. They laughed then."

— Keith Olbermann, Fox Sports

"It was never a matter of wondering whether it would happen. I always knew it would."

— D.J., about his insatiable desire to grow up and play shortstop for the New York Yankees

"My dad had been shortstop when he was in college, and you know, when you're a kid, you want to be just like your dad."

— D.J.

"I used to go watch him play in a softball league. He was probably my first role model. ... He says he was better than me."

— D.J.

"Derek was one of those kids you just never forget, and I would say that even if he wasn't playing baseball. He was the kind of student any teacher would want to have. I was just struck by how much he cared about his fellow classmates. ... He was completely self-motivated, creative, never wasted any time. ... He always found something to do. I remember doing his report card and thinking, 'Does he realize just how intelligent he is?'"

— Shirley Garzelloni, Jeter's elementary school teacher at St. Augustine's Cathedral School, to Buster Olney, New York Times, April 9, 1999

"He didn't have this 'I'm really cool' attitude. He was very genuine and humble."

— Chris Oosterbaan, Jeter's elementary school teacher at St. Augustine's Cathedral School, to Buster Olney, New York Times, April 9, 1999

"It was something you sort of just knew was going to happen."

— Shirley Garzelloni, Jeter's elementary school teacher at St. Augustine's Cathedral School, about how she believed the nine-year-old boy when he emphatically told everyone he'd one day play shortstop for the Yankees

"As a boy in Kalamazoo, I lived for game day. When the season would start, I would put my uniform on and ask my parents how I looked. I loved the whole ritual of game day: putting on my uniform, driving to the field, doing our warm-ups, hearing the crowd cheer and my name called, and taking my place at shortstop."

— D.J., Game Day, 2001

"His early days on the diamond in Kalamazoo were spent honing his skills in the Eastwood, Oakwood, and Westwood Little Leagues."

— Derek Jeter biography, Turn 2, The Official Site of Derek Jeter and the Turn 2 Foundation, 2015

"I wanted Derek to be an all-around player."

— Charles Jeter, who played his son at second, third, and shortstop when he coached him in Little League

"I'd known of Derek for years, because everyone in Kalamazoo had heard about this fantastic Little League ballplayer."

— Don Zomer, Jeter's varsity high school baseball coach

"I always wanted to play in Williamsport, but we were terrible when I was in Little League. So I never got the chance."

— D.J., in conversation with Chris Fontenelli of Toms River East, 1998 Little League world champions, moderated by Buster Olney, New York Times Magazine, September 12, 1999

"I remember my dad telling me ... — my mom as well — you can't compare yourself to the kids you're playing against in the Westwood Little League in Kalamazoo. There are people that are working to be the same thing you want to be all around the country ... all over the world. ... So I never sat down and said, 'I think I'm good enough to play professional baseball.' It was just a matter of what can I do to improve?"

— D.J., to Michael Kay, CenterStage, December 2003

"In terms of athletes, Dave Winfield was my guy. He was drafted in three sports, which caught my eye. Plus, he's also the first athlete I know to start his own foundation. I thought it was pretty cool that this professional athlete was giving back to his community."

— D.J., "It's My Life"

"It felt pretty good to know that this exciting young shortstop thought I was a role model. I was really pleased to hear that. There were different images that people who didn't know me had of me as a player during my career. It was important to hear that I had affected him in the right way."

— Dave Winfield, Padres and Yankees Hall of Famer

"Derek Jeter: most likely to play shortstop for the New York Yankees."

— Prescient words in Jeter's eighth-grade yearbook

"Even my teachers told me to be more realistic."

— D.J.

"When he was in eighth grade and was about to switch from parochial school to a public school, we sent him over to the Y to play basketball against older kids as a way of toughening him up. He went, but he took his mother with him."

— Charles Jeter, to Michael Silver, Sports Illustrated, June 21, 1999

"I almost didn't go to Kalamazoo Central. My parents thought I should go to Hackett, a Catholic high school. ... Since my parents knew I wanted to play baseball and basketball, they thought I might have trouble doing it at a school as large as Central. I think they thought I'd be fine in baseball, but I wasn't the greatest basketball player, and that's what worried them. ... I begged them to let me go to Central, so my mother made a deal with me. She told me that I could go there if I made the Kazoo Blues basketball team, an elite Amateur Athletic Union team that drew its players from all over western Michigan."

— D.J., The Life You Imagine, 2000

"I kept safe because I made friends with the bullies."

— D.J., about going to a large high school, "It's My Life"

"Derek enrolled at Kalamazoo Central High School in 1988, and immediately began making a name for himself as a student athlete. ... In the classroom, he maintained an A-minus average. On the basketball court, he became the varsity's starting shooting guard."

— Mark Stewart, Derek Jeter: Substance and Style, 1999

"I played a lot of sports, so I got a chance to know a lot of people. I tried everything, including basketball and soccer. I was too skinny to play football though! I did anything that had me running around and had to do with sports."

— D.J., "It's My Life"

"I played basketball in high school, and it really got me in shape for the baseball season, [including] with conditioning and lateral movement."

— D.J., who became an honorable mention all-state guard in high school, Tim McCarver Show, May 9, 2000

"I remember the cold. We weren't that good of a high school [baseball] team. We played 20 games a season. We'd get rained out or snowed out a lot."

— D.J., who kept in shape waiting for the baseball season by playing basketball, running cross country, and fielding grounders in the school gym, 2010

"On the baseball diamond, Derek was simply the best shortstop anyone at the school had ever seen."

— Mark Stewart, Derek Jeter: Substance and Style, 1999

"I knew that he wasn't going to be on the JV for too long."

— Norm Copeland, Jeter's junior varsity baseball coach as a freshman, after seeing Jeter's powerful arm

"You never see a kid that long and lean throwing a ball that hard."

— Courtney Jasiak, Jeter's 21-year-old coach for Brundage Roofing, an under-16 baseball team

"I used to long-toss with my dad to strengthen my arm."

— D.J., who was promoted to the varsity baseball team after two-thirds of a season by coach Marv Signeski, prompting All-Conference shortstop Craig Humphrey to willingly shift to second base to make room for the stronger-armed youngster

"He would throw the ball 91, 92 miles an hour from short to first. I had to put a better athlete at first just to handle his throws. ... Derek hit balls normal high school players just couldn't handle."

— Don Zomer, Jeter's second varsity baseball coach at Kalamazoo Central High School

"First time I saw him, he was playing for Kalamazoo Central. He was about 15 years old and as skinny as the bat he was using. And I looked at him and said, 'Oh my God, this kid is something else. He was ... playing on the varsity, hitting third, always the first one to practice and the last one to leave. ... He just stuck out like a sore thumb. ... There was him, and there was everybody else. It isn't even comparable. Just the way he went about it. ... Just low-key, hustled his a– off, shined above everyone else."

— Ace Adams, University of Michigan assistant baseball coach and recruiter, to Sweeny Murti, SportsNet New York, September 22, 2014

"He was really quiet; he didn't say a word. He just went about his business."

— Courtney Jasiak, Brundage Roofing coach

"When Jeter was 15, he played third base for Rathco, a summer league team sponsored by a company that produces highway safety equipment, road barriers, and such. The next season, he joined the Kalamazoo Maroons. ... The team played games almost daily, with little time for practice. ... He would arrive early for games and take grounders."

— Buster Olney, New York Times, March 29, 1998

"After games, he would stand out there and take grounders as long as there was somebody there to hit balls to him.... He worked his rear end off."

— Mike Hinga, Jeter's coach for three summers with the Kalamazoo Maroons, an elite traveling team

"He was almost like a colt — long arms, long legs, very thin. You wouldn't look at that and go, 'Yeah, for sure.' But you could see there was this huge, huge upside."

— Mike Hinga, Kalamazoo Maroons coach

"Derek always had the desire to be the best."

— Charles Jeter

"In the evenings, after his team had finished playing, Derek, his parents, and his sister, Sharlee, would often hop the fence of the high school field to play some more."

— Matt Christopher, On the Field with ... Derek Jeter, 2000

"Some people went to the movies for fun. We went to the field. It was all part of being very close."

— Sharlee Jeter, Derek's sister

"Our family time was spent at the baseball field. We lived behind my high school, which had a baseball field and a softball field, and we'd go out there — my parents, my sister, and myself. We'd take turns hitting a baseball, and then we'd get out the softball, and we played Wiffle ball."

— D.J., Tim McCarver Show, May 9, 2000

"My mom and sister would be in the outfield and would flag down all the balls I would hit."

— D.J., about when his father threw him batting practice every evening

"My sister, Sharlee, used to run circles around me. It's the truth, I'm not lying to you. She's the best shortstop in the family. Now, my dad will tell you he's the best, but he couldn't hit too well. My sister could hit. ... Sharlee was a better athlete than me — by far."

— D.J., who often praised his sister's skills in softball, volleyball, and basketball, Tim McCarver Show

"Before high school games, [my mother would] go into the backyard and throw me batting practice [with a Wiffle ball]."

— D.J.,, May 10, 2001

"I'm going to college at some point. I'd like to become a doctor."

— D.J., revealing that he envisioned a life other than playing baseball

"I tutored in the computer lab when I was in [high] school. I didn't exactly love it, but as I got older I learned the importance of volunteering."

— D.J., about his interests off the ball field, "It's My Life"

"He just had an easy manner, no signs of conceit, and when he was helping people, he didn't make any of them feel less important."

— Sally Padley, Jeter's British literature teacher at Kalamazoo Central High, to Buster Olney, New York Times, April 9, 1999

"I didn't get into too much trouble — or, I should say, I didn't get caught."

— D.J., to Barbara Walters, 10 Most Fascinating People of 2011, December 14, 2011


Excerpted from Baseball Immortal Derek Jeter by Danny Peary. Copyright © 2015 Danny Peary. Excerpted by permission of Page Street Publishing Co..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Title Page,
Copyright Notice,
ONE The Education of a Ballplayer,
TWO A Professional,
THREE A Major League Star,
FOUR A Champion,
FIVE The Captain,
SIX A Living Legend,
SEVEN Into the Sunset,

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