Derek Jeter will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sept. 8. The Post is counting down his 10 best moments leading into The Captain’s big day in Cooperstown.
No. 8 Jeter named Yankees captain in 2003
On June 3, 2003, the Yankees changed forever when owner George Steinbrenner named Derek Jeter the 11th captain in franchise history.
“It’s a big day for Jeter because of the people who have been there before him,” Steinbrenner told reporters at a news conference at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park.
That day, Jeter became the Yankees’ first captain since 1995, when Don Mattingly retired. Other Yankees captain include Babe Ruth (1922), Lou Gehrig (1923-39) and Thurman Munson (1976–79).
“It goes without saying how great an honor this is,” Jeter said at the time. “Just look at the guys who preceded me. They’re great baseball players and great people.’’
By the time he became captain, the shortstop, then 28 years old, had already played on four World Series champions, earned a World Series MVP, been named All-Star Game MVP and won the AL Rookie of the Year Award.
After starting the season 21-6, the Yankees were mired in a 12-17 rut when Jeter was handed the “C.”
“I felt a need for leadership at this point,” Steinbrenner said at the time.
When asked if he felt the decision to name him captain at that particular time was designed to give his struggling team a spark, Jeter said: “It doesn’t matter, an honor is an honor regardless of where you get it. It doesn’t make a difference.”
Follow The Post’s coverage of Derek Jeter’s Hall of Fame induction
The Yankees finished the 2003 season with a 101-61 record, six games ahead of the Red Sox in the AL East. Joe Torre’s club defeated the Red Sox in seven games in the ALCS behind Aaron Boone’s walk-off home run in the 11th inning of Game 7. They fell to the Marlins in a six-game World Series.
But Jeter led the Yankees as captain to a World Series title in 2009. He accomplished many things in his career, but he will always be remembered as “The Captain.”
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