August 2014

September Issue of Yankees Magazine – ON SALE, SEPTEMBER 2

August 23, 2014 – The September Issue of Yankees Magazine will be on sale September 2, when the Yankees take on the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.

You can purchase a subscription to the print version of Yankees Magazine by calling (800) GO-YANKS, and you can purchase a print or digital subscription by visiting

In my opinion, this edition is the best one in the history of the publication. The entire issue is dedicated to Derek Jeter, one of the single most storied players to ever wear the pinstripes, and each of stories on the captain are as exclusive as they are special.

Managing editor Nathan Maciborski’s cover story is a career retrospective about Jeter. In the feature, Maciborski captures the essence of what Jeter has meant to those who have followed him for the better part of 20 years. The feature also offers insight from those who have worked closely with Jeter into what has set him apart from his peers.

As I detailed on this blog over the past few months, I wrote three features for this issue, including a Q&A with Hall of Famer Ernie Banks and Jeter at Wrigley Field, a first-person story with Jeter’s parents and a behind-the-scenes look at the captain’s final All-Star Game.

For two special “Art of Sport” pieces, I sat down with Hall of Fame shortstops Cal Ripken Jr. and Ozzie Smith in Cooperstown, New York, and those interviews are must reads.

Other than the Bomber Bites section, which is a roundup of current news briefs, every other story is about Jeter. The Minor League Report details Jeter’s first few years in the Yankees organization, and the Where Are They Now article provides an update on Dick Groch, the former Yankees scout who found Jeter, then a high school star in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

You’ll find first-person vignettes about Jeter from great Yankees and icons from other teams, other sports and other walks of life sprinkled throughout the pages of this special issue. Whether it’s Hal Steinbrenner, David Ortiz, Paul Molitor, Eli Manning, Mark Messier or any Yankees great you can image, their words are on the pages of this issue.

Lastly, this edition features three covers. The cover that will be available all month long anywhere Yankees Magazine is sold features a photo of Jeter from the spring of 2009. The second cover, which will only be available at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 7 — when the team is planning to honor the shortstop in a special pregame ceremony, is graced with a beautiful photo of Jeter at the Stadium. On Sept. 25, Derek Jeter is scheduled to play in his final regular-season game in the Bronx, and a portrait of the captain taken earlier this season will be on the cover that will be available that night at the Stadium.

Enjoy this extraordinary edition of Yankees Magazine.

–Alfred Santasiere III




2014 Edition of Yankees Magazine en Español – ON SALE, SEPTEMBER 2

August 22, 2014 – The third annual edition of Yankees Magazine en Español will be on sale on September 2, when the Yankees take on the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.

Without a doubt, this year’s Spanish-language publication is the best one we’ve put out. For starters, the cover features a beautiful portrait of Derek Jeter that Yankees team photographer James Petrozzello took in the bullpen at George M. Steinbrenner Field during the captain’s final spring training. In the photo, the stoic shortstop is sitting in front of the wide expense of the field and the huge Y-A-N-K-E-E-S graphic that hangs above the seats on the left side of the ballpark.

The cover story on Jeter, scribed by contributing writer Jorge Arangure Jr., delves into Jeter’s popularity in Latin America, where so many youngsters revere him.

I got an idea of how universal Jeter’s appeal is when I was in Panama with the Yankees in March. Every time I was in a public area with Jeter — walking through the airport, getting on a team bus at the hotel, walking out of the ballpark — the excitement among the crowds of people was off the charts.

As Arangure describes in his story, Jeter is not only admired, followed and emulated by fans in Latin America but also by the great majority of young ballplayers.

The reason for the team’s trip to Panama was to honor Mariano Rivera in his home country. The Yankees played two games against the Miami Marlins in Rivera’s homeland, and a special pre-game ceremony for the closer was held before the first game. Rivera also took his teammates to the Panama Canal during the trip. I was fortunate enough to witness all of it, and I also conducted a lengthy interview with Rivera during the first game of the “Series of the Legend,” for a feature that is included in Yankees en Español.

I also traveled to Puerto Rico to spend a few days with legendary centerfielder Bernie Williams in his homeland. My story on Williams is one of the favorite pieces I’ve written, mainly because the subject cared so deeply about making it special and historic. From visiting the first field that Williams played baseball on to the field where he was playing when a Yankees scout discovered him, to his high school, I covered all the bases in Puerto Rico. And, my conversation with Williams’ mother and brother shed light on why Williams was a great baseball player and why his humility and kindness will always stand out.

A few months before my trip to Puerto Rico, executive editor Ken Derry traveled to the Dominican Republic to explore how so many prospects — as well as a few star players — hone their craft at the Yankees Baseball Academy. In Derry’s exclusive story, he illustrates the unique challenge of making it in professional baseball.

A little closer to home, I found a real diamond in the rough. The most extensive collection of rare treasures from the life of Roberto Clemente are on display in the Pittsburgh museum — in an old firehouse — that bears his name. If you’re interested in learning about the legacy of Clemente, whose pioneering paved the way for countless Spanish-speaking ballplayers who followed him to the United States, I encourage you to read my story on the museum.

Lastly, there is a Q&A feature with Cuban native Gloria Estefan in this publication. I interviewed the seven-time Grammy Award winner last fall in New York City, and Estefan spoke with me about a wide array of topics that made for an interesting piece.

Enjoy this annual publication.

–Alfred Santasiere III


Reflections of Derek Jeter — by Jorge Posada

August 21, 2014 — On August 9, Jorge Posada was at Yankee Stadium to take part in the ceremony that the Yankees held for Paul O’Neill. Shortly after the team dedicated a plaque in Monument Park to O’Neill, I met up with Posada to talk about another iconic Yankee.

For a first-person vignette in the September Issue of Yankees Magazine, Posada shared his thoughts on Derek Jeter, his former teammate and close friend.

Below are Posada’s words about his friendship with Jeter and his tremendous respect for him.

–Alfred Santasiere III


Derek and I first played on the same team in 1992. He was the Yankees’ first-round draft choice that year, and when I first met him, he had ankle braces on, wore his hat weird, and was wearing high-top sneakers. And, he was very skinny. I said to myself, “Is this really our first-round pick?”

Then, he got on the field and started hitting home runs to center field and right field, and I quickly realized how talented he was. Once we began playing games, I couldn’t believe how versatile he was. He was already able to make that jump throw, and he was very fast.

Derek and I didn’t become close friends until 1995. We knew each other before that, and we hung out a little bit, but in 1995, we lived in the same apartment building, and we began spending a lot of time together. When the team was home, we would go out for dinner together, and when we were on the road, we ate lunch together almost every day. That September, we both got called up to the big club at the same time.

As soon as I began spending time with Derek, I learned what a great person he was and how much we had in common. I liked all the qualities that he had, and I felt that they were very similar to my qualities.

I used to write the things I wanted to accomplish on a piece of paper, and he did the same thing. When we were in the minors, I showed him that note. The things he wanted to accomplish were pretty much the same as mine, and we really worked hard together to reach those goals.


Reflections of Derek Jeter — by Brian Butterfield

August 21, 2014 – On the same day that I interviewed David Ortiz for a vignette on Derek Jeter (see blog entry below), I spoke with Boston Red Sox third base coach Brian Butterfield about the captain.

Butterfield, who coached in the Yankees minor league system for several years, worked closely with Jeter at a crucial time. After making 56 errors during his first year of professional baseball, Jeter was assigned to the instructional league (in the autumn of 1992). According to Jeter, it was under Butterfield’s direction that he made the improvements necessary to ultimately become a major league shortstop.

From the infield at Fenway Park, Butterfield spoke with me about his experiences in working with Jeter day in and day out and hitting more ground balls to the young shortstop than anyone could count.

–Alfred Santasiere III


I began coaching Derek when he was 19 years old. He was a good athlete, but the thing that stood out about him the most, especially as he was around other guys, was the type of personality he had. He was energetic, and he had a great sense of humor. The young guys and the old guys at instructional league gravitated to him. The coaches were always hanging around him to hear what he had to say.

When I began working with Derek, he was coming off a season in which he had made 56 errors. He wasn’t able to work on hitting because he had hurt his wrist, and that turned out to be a blessing in disguise. He had to work exclusively on defense for about a month and a half.

He went out there ready to work and with a smile on his face.

We would get out on the field early in the morning and stay out there until noon. We worked on Derek’s footwork, on catching ground balls, on catching the ball backhanded and on attacking slow rollers. We watched video of the morning session, and then we’d go back out in the afternoon. More than anything else, it was obvious early on that Derek wanted to become a great player and that he had great aptitude. At the end of every day, he was a better player than when he got out there.

I’m proud to have worked with Derek. He has impacted my life a lot more than I could have ever impacted his because he’s quick to give other people credit for everything that’s happened in his career.


Reflections of Derek Jeter — by David Ortiz

August 21, 2014 – Earlier this month, I traveled to Boston to interview Red Sox star David Ortiz for one of the many first-person vignettes on Derek Jeter that will appear in the September Issue of Yankees Magazine.

In the interview, which took place along the first base line at Fenway Park, Big Papi’s respect for his long-time rival on the field was notable.

Below are Ortiz’ words about Jeter as they will appear in the September edition – dedicated to the Yankees captain.

Alfred Santasiere III


I don’t think there’s a human being on earth who has something against Derek. It’s nearly impossible to reach that type of level of respect. It’s hard to be that perfect.

When I watch Derek walk up to the plate, I take notice of his body language and his swagger. It’s unique. I have tried to be like him, to exude confidence like him and to carry myself the way he has.

He’s had a longer prime than any other player I’ve been around. Most players are in the prime of their careers for about five years, but Derek has been in his prime for about 15. He’s been the Hercules of our sport, and he should get voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame unanimously.

I’m glad I’m going out right after him because I’m going to miss him when we play the Yankees. I’ve enjoyed competing against him. I’m going to miss getting to second base and saying, “DJ, what’s up?” He has always had something funny to say, and he’s done it without ever cracking a smile.


The Art of Sport with Hall of Famers Cal Ripken Jr. and Ozzie Smith

August 21, 2014 – For the September Issue of Yankees Magazine, which is dedicated to Derek Jeter, I spoke to two other legendary shortstops for two special Q&A features.

During the time I was in Cooperstown, New York, covering Joe Torre’s Hall of Fame induction, I met up with Cal Ripken Jr. and Ozzie Smith and interviewed both of them about the Yankees captain.

For two “Art of Sport” pieces, the Hall of Famers provided unique perspectives on Jeter’s career.

Smith, who is widely regarded as the greatest fielding shortstop of all-time, broke down Jeter’s performance in the field.

“A lot of times, shortstops are measured by how consistently they make the routine play,” Smith said. “With Derek, the Yankees have always been able to depend on him. When a team has a guy at shortstop who is as reliable as Derek, it has a ripple effect. It takes a lot of pressure off of the pitcher because there is less need to strike batters out. When the pressure is on the pitcher to strike guys out all the time because he doesn’t have steady middle infielders, the results are usually not very good. Defense has always been a big part of the game, and Derek has supplied the Yankees with the defense they needed up the middle for 20 seasons.”

Smith also shared his thoughts on Jeter’s jump throw.

“I think all of us have something unique in the way we go about our craft, and Derek is no different,” the St. Louis Cardinals legend said. “Anytime a play takes you farther away from the base that you want to throw to, it’s going to be tough to make. But the great shortstops have the ability to improvise. That is the greatest asset a shortstop can have because a lot of times, you never really know exactly how you’re going to turn after you scoop up the baseball. Derek has been able to handle the weird hops that are hit toward the shortstop position.”

In my interview with Ripken, he also weighed in on Jeter’s signature play in the field.

“It’s a very difficult play to pull off,” the Iron Man said. “Derek has perfected it and probably gotten a lot of people in trouble over the years for trying to emulate him. I never felt comfortable getting my body in position to make that throw without setting my feet. You have to possess a strong arm, and you have to have total control of your body in that position. Many times, it’s difficult for him to stop and turn around because of the speed at which he runs after the ball. But he developed a way to consistently make that jump throw with accuracy. It has opened up a way for shortstops to make that sort of running play into the hole, and it’s been fun to watch.”

After discussing Jeter’s heroics in the field, Ripken shared his thoughts about something he has in common with the Yankees captain.

“I think most players wish that they could have an opportunity to play for one team,” said Ripken, who played for the Baltimore Orioles during his entire 21-year career. “Playing for one team the whole way is special because it’s not easy. Teams make changes in personnel over the years, and they rebuild. From the player’s standpoint, you have to perform well year in and year out. You have to be committed to your team, and you have to understand that there’s a greater value in staying with the team you started with. Your career is more meaningful when you are attached to one team. I can’t imagine Derek wearing another uniform, and in the rich history of the Yankees, Derek is firmly planted as one of their all-time greatest players.”

At the end of each interview, I asked Smith and Ripken where Jeter stands among the greatest shortstops of all-time.

“It’s hard to say because you’re always going to have a debate as to who was the best at each aspect of the game,” Smith said. “I think we were all unique in the way that we went about our business, and we all tried to be as well-rounded as we could be. Derek certainly has been one of the most consistent players that the game has ever seen. And, if you had to choose one word to describe the shortstops who are in the Hall of Fame, consistency would be that word. More than anything else, that’s what has allowed them to be looked upon as the game’s greatest. Derek will be part of the small group of shortstops up here in Cooperstown, and he belongs on the short list of the best players to ever play the position.”

“Derek is at the top of the list,” Ripken said. “He’s the most complete player to ever play the position. He is an all-around great offensive and defensive player, and he is one of the best clutch players the game has ever seen. Derek is the guy you want at the plate if the game’s on the line. He has performed so well in the playoffs, and that separates him from all the other shortstops.”

–Alfred Santasiere III


Ozzie Smith - HOF - 2014

Reflections of Derek Jeter — by Hall of Famer Dave Winfield

August 21, 2014 – While I was in Minneapolis for the 2014 All-Star Game (see blog entry below), I interviewed Hall of Famer Dave Winfield for a first-person vignette on Derek Jeter.

Winfield was Jeter’s favorite athlete during the shortstop’s childhood. Today, it appears that Winfield is quite a big fan of Jeter.

Below are the words of the former Yankees outfielder and Minnesota native.

–Alfred Santasiere III


When a young man first makes it as a professional, even in the minor leagues, you’re not sure how he’s going to turn out. You don’t know how he’s going to develop or mature. Derek had difficulty defensively in the minor leagues before he got to New York. Yankees brass didn’t really know that he was going to excel in the big leagues, and they certainly didn’t’ know that they he was going to help them win five championships and perform as well in the clutch for so many years.

Derek’s been a model of excellence on and off the field, and that’s why people look up to him. I appreciate him. He’s always given back to the community, and he’s done everything the right way. The Yankees have been blessed to have him, and he’s been blessed to play for the New York Yankees. It’s been a great marriage.


Derek Jeter’s Final All-Star Game

August 21, 2014 – One of the three features that I wrote for the September Issue of Yankees Magazine is on Derek Jeter’s final All-Star Game, which took place on July 15 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

I arrived in the Twin Cities a few days before the Midsummer Classic and covered the American and National League media sessions at a downtown hotel.

From the minute the first availability began, it was clear that this was Derek Jeter’s All-Star Game.

Jeter was joined by his American League All-Star teammates in a ballroom. The star-studded lineup included the two-time reigning American League MVP Miguel Cabrera, 2010 American League Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez, Angels phenom Mike Trout and Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista.

But as if Jeter were the only guy in the room, nearly the entire contingent of media flocked to his table.

As he fielded question after question, Jeter shared his favorite All-Star Game memory, which took place in 1999.

“During batting practice, I got a tap on my shoulder,” Jeter said. “It was Hank Aaron. He told me that he had been looking for me because he wanted to meet me. I looked at him and said, ‘You wanted to meet me?’ That was a great honor, and it was one of the best moments I’ve had on a baseball field.”

A few hours after the media sessions, the All-Stars arrived at Target Field for a workout, and Colorado Rockies star Troy Tulowitzki had a similar experience to the one Jeter had all those years before.

Before 29-year-old shortstop stepped into the batting cage, he got a tap on the shoulder. It was Jeter.

“I just want to congratulate you on a great first half, bro,” Jeter said. “You’re really doing a great job.”

I caught up with Tulowitzki afterward.

“It’s something that I will always remember,” Tulowitzki said. “When I was growing up, I had a poster of Derek in my room. Anytime someone who you’ve admired since you were a young child wants to talk to you and pays you a compliment, it gives you chills.

The Midsummer Classic proved to be as much of a celebration of Jeter as a baseball game, and in my story, I detail each of the emotional ovations that the captain received.

And, before his exit from the game, Jeter made a significant impact on the American League’s victory, going 2-for-2 with a double, a single and a run scored.

“I can still play,” Jeter said after the game. “I’m not retiring because I can’t play anymore. It’s just time to move on.”

–Alfred Santasiere III


Unprecedented Story on Derek Jeter — in the September Issue

August 21, 2014 – In early July, I spent an afternoon with Derek Jeter’s parents, Dr. Charles Jeter and Dorothy Jeter. Over lunch at the Highlawn Pavilion restaurant in West Orange, New Jersey, the Jeters shared story after story about Derek’s childhood and his career with the Yankees.

The Jeters’ willingness to share so many never-before-told stories about their son has allowed me to put together an unprecedented feature for the September Issue of Yankees Magazine. I am extremely grateful to the classy couple for their candor, for their time, and for sharing their collection of family photos with me for this feature.

From Derek’s first day of school to the first time he played baseball to the day he was drafted by the Yankees, the Jeters really provided me with a perspective I had never heard.

Of course, our nearly three-hour conversation included some funny moments.

“Derek played football when he was about 8 years old, but he pretty much gave up on his career in that sport on one play,” Dr. Jeter said. “He was playing defensive back, and he had really good speed. The running back from the other team took the ball, broke through the line of scrimmage and was running down the field. Instead of tackling the guy, Derek ran all the way down the field with him. I was yelling, ‘Derek, tackle him.’ Then, in the next game, Derek tried to tackle a player, but he was too skinny to take him down. The guy carried Derek on his back right into the end zone. We still tease him about that now.”

On a more serious note, Mrs. Jeter spoke about her son’s love of baseball, which began at a very early age.

“The first team Derek played on was a city league T-ball team in Kalamazoo when he was 4 years old,” Dorothy said. “They played one game a week, and from the first day, Derek loved putting the uniform on. During his childhood and even when he was in high school, he would put his uniform on at home before the season began to make sure that everything looked good. He wanted to make sure everything was perfect before he went out to the field.”

“That tradition of trying the uniform on started during the first year Derek played ball,” Charles added. “They had a parade, and Derek was really excited about marching with his team. The night before the parade, he tried his uniform on. He couldn’t have been more proud to be part of that team. He didn’t march down the street; he strutted.”

What will stay with me forever from that lunch was the enormous amount of pride that Derek Jeter’s parents have in him. They are a special family, and the fact that Derek is as great a person as he is a baseball player has a lot to do with the way he was raised.

In a touching moment near the end of our lunch, Dr. Jeter spoke about watching his son play in his first major league game (see photo below from Derek’s major league debut, against the Seattle Mariners in the Kingdome).

“Hearing Derek’s name announced prior to his first at-bat is something I will never forget,” Charles said. “As I sat in the seats that night, I reflected on watching him play in Little League. I thought back on his first year of T-ball and how proud he was to march in that parade. I could still picture him strutting down the street and talking about how he someday wanted to be the shortstop for the New York Yankees. It was an emotional night, and it’s still the proudest moment I’ve ever had.”

–Alfred Santasiere III

Derek Jeter

August Issue of Yankees Magazine – ON SALE NOW

August 9, 2014 – The August Issue of Yankees Magazine is on sale now at Yankee Stadium.

You can purchase a subscription to the print version of Yankees Magazine by calling (800) GO-YANKS, and you can purchase a print or digital subscription by visiting

The August Issue features three covers. Joe Torre, who was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in July, graces the cover that will be on sale for most of the month. In that cover photo, taken by team photographer James Petrozzello in March, Torre is sitting in the middle of the Hall of Fame’s plaque gallery — a few feet in front of the wall that his plaque now hangs on.

Petrozzello also took a portrait of Paul O’Neill in Yankee Stadium’s Great Hall for the cover that will be sold at the Stadium only today, the day that the Yankees dedicated a Monument Park plaque to the great rightfielder.

The third cover features a portrait of Torre that staff photographer Matt Zeigler took in the home dugout at Yankee Stadium. That cover will be sold at Yankee Stadium on August 23, when the Yankees will be dedicating a Monument Park plaque to Torre and retiring his No. 6.

In addition to my cover story on Torre (see blog entry below), and my exclusive feature on Bernie Williams (see blog entry below), senior editor Jon Schwartz wrote an in-depth piece on O’Neill, and it is a must-read.

This issue also includes executive editor Ken Derry’s feature on the baseball in Trenton, New Jersey, the home of the Yankees Double-A affiliate. Derry’s feature provides an interesting history of the earliest days of baseball in New Jersey’s capital city, and it also sheds light on the experience of seeing the Thunder play today (which I can say from first-hand experience is wonderful).

Enjoy this edition of Yankees Magazine.

–Alfred Santasiere III