June 19, 2010 — July is almost here, but I will end the suspense a little early.
Derek Jeter will grace the cover of the July issue of Yankees Magazine.
In each of the last three off-seasons, I have had the chance to spend a few days with Jeter and and his family during the captain’s annual Turn 2 golf outing in Tampa.
I went to Tampa this year intent on finding out everything I could about Jeter’s leadership quality. I asked Derek’s parents how long their son has been a team leader, and they shared stories from as far back as his Little League days.
Derek spoke about the type of leader he considers himself to be — and those comments will surprise even the most knowledgeable Yankees fans.
I asked Derek’s teammates –past and present– whether they would be wearing all of those World Series rings if the Yankees were void of on-field leaders. And from Jorge Posada to Tino Martinez, the answer was the same every time.
“No.” Martinez said before I could even finish the question. “You can have a great season with good players. But you can win championships with good players and leaders.”
“There’s no way,” Posada added. “Every team, including the one that just won the World Series, had followers. But they needed someone to lead them, especially when things weren’t going well. Managers are leaders, but they can’t do it themselves.”
Michael Jordan and Marcus Allen (both pictured below) were among the other celebrity guests who came to support Jeter’s foundation. I spoke with both Hall of Famers about Jeter, and they offered high praise of the shortstop.
“Derek is clearly a guy who is self-motivated and driven,” Allen said. “He impacts his team with his play, and he motivates players around him to be better.”
“Some people are born to lead,” Jordan added. “Derek is one of those people. He doesn’t wear it on his sleeve, but he has a great work ethic, which people admire him for.”
That’s just a small part of this story. You don’t want to miss the rest.
–Alfred Santasiere III