Black History Month: Mr. November.

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Derek Jeter hits dramatic homerun in 2001 World Series (Credit: CBSSports.com)
When you think about Postseason Baseball, you immediately jump to the most clutch of players….Kirby Puckett….Reggie Jackson….Tom Glavine…Madison Bumgarner….and Captain Clutch himself, #2, Derek Jeter. Known for being one of the best playoff performers of all-time, Jeter performed better under pressure in big game situations and became beloved by millions in not only the Bronx, but worldwide.

Considered by many the greatest of all-time, he’s the Yankees’ all-time franchise leader in hits (3,465), stolen bases (358) and games played. The perfect example of a 5-Tool-Player, Jeter sported a .310 career average, and had great base running abilities, had a nice pop for a shortstop (260 career homeruns), while winning four Gold Gloves for his defense as a shortstop.

His biggest postseason came in 2001, following a season where he batted .311 with 21 homeruns. Though he had won rings with the Yankees in ’96, ’98, ’99, and ’00 as one of the integral parts in the Yankee Dynasty, known as the Core Four (alongside Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada); 2001 was when Jeter got the moniker of Mr. November. Derek Jeter broke out of a slump, when the clock struck midnight during a 9-pitch, dramatic at bat. He had gotten the first hit and homerun in November Baseball history.

For the first time in his career, after 7 full seasons and 6 World Series appearances (4 wins), Jeter played less than 148 games, after an Opening Day collision with Ken Huckaby of the Blue Jays, causing him to miss 36 games. However, does that mean it wasn’t a historic and monumental season for Jeter? No. He batted .324, finishing Top 3 in a batting title race that was won by Bill Mueller of the Red Sox; and he was named the Yankees’ captain by owner George Steinbrenner, one of the biggest honors in the sport. Known for not only his play on the field, but his leadership, work for his community and marketability, Jeter was one of the rare gems the sport has had to offer, and will get his number retired by the Yankees this upcoming season, whom he spent his entire career with.

With his last great seasons coming in 2011 and 2012, Jeter would make history (2011). Becoming only the second player to hit a homerun for his 3,000th hit (joining Hall-of-Famer Wade Boggs), he mashed one off of former Cy Young winner David Price, into the Yankee Stadium stands.

In 2014, his final season, he was an All-Star for the 14th time, and hit a walk-off in his final at-bat in Yankee Stadium. He retired following the season and is eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2020, with a very likely chance of becoming the first ever unanimous inductee, something that couldn’t be done by Babe Ruth, Ken Griffey Jr. or Tom Seaver.

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1999. (CBSSports.com)

What other African American Athletes would you like to see covered this month? Email me: Jameusmooney@gmail.com
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