https://nypost.com/2021/09/08/yankees-derek-jeter-inducted-into-baseball-hall-of-fame/

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — As Derek Jeter officially took his place among baseball’s legends on Wednesday, he did so surrounded by two groups of people who fueled his storied career.

Behind him were 31 Hall of Famers who helped set the standard. In front of him were troves of fans — an estimated 20,000 — many of them clad in Yankees pinstripes, who made sure he consistently lived up to that standard.

“I wanted to prove to you I belonged, and you kept pushing me to prove it over and over again,” Jeter said to the fans at Clark Sports Center.

“I was always most comfortable on the field, especially at Yankee Stadium playing in front of you. I wanted you to be able to count on me. To this day, especially right now in this moment, I still represent you. It’s been one of the greatest honors of my life.”

Jeter’s road from The Bronx to Cooperstown finally became complete as he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, nearly 20 months after he was voted in one vote shy of unanimously in 2020. He became the 28th individual to enter the Hall of Fame as a Yankee on a day when Larry Walker, Ted Simmons and the late Marvin Miller were also enshrined.

Derek Jeter waves to the crowd as he is inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

The former Yankees shortstop joined the elite group whose approval he said he was constantly trying to gain.

“The greatest people and players in this game, the Hall of Fame family, they’re watching,” Jeter said. “I wanted to make all you behind me proud — not of statistics, proud of how I played the game, how I carried myself and how I respected the game and those before and after me.”

Derek Jeter giving his Baseball Hall of Fame induction speech in Cooperstown.
Derek Jeter giving his Baseball Hall of Fame induction speech in Cooperstown.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

In front of a lawn filled with No. 2 jerseys and other Yankees garb, Jeter had plenty of stars in attendance for him, including Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing. The Yankees contingent included fellow Hall of Famers Mariano Rivera and Joe Torre, plus Hal Steinbrenner, Brian Cashman, Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams (who played the national anthem on guitar), Tino Martinez and CC Sabathia.

Former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter holding his Hall of Fame plaque.
Former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter holding his Hall of Fame plaque
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

In a speech that was quintessential Jeter, he spent much of it thanking those who helped him during his career and all the players, coaches and staff members he crossed paths with along the way.

But the fans — who serenaded him with chants of “Der-ek Jet-er” and gave him a standing ovation when he was introduced — also had a special part in that journey. After his induction was twice delayed by COVID-19, and not always guaranteed to include fans because of the pandemic, he appreciated their presence on his big day.

Yankees fans came out in full force for Derek Jeter's Hall of Fame ceremony.
Yankees fans came out in full force for Derek Jeter’s Hall of Fame ceremony.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

“We’ve grown up together,” Jeter said after the ceremony. “Yankee fans appreciate their history, that’s what makes it so special. That’s what makes the organization so special. To have that number of people come out here, all things considered, I’m glad I had a chance to share that experience with the fans, because they’re a big reason why I’m here today.”

Jeter, who thrived under pressure during his 20-year career, said he was not nervous as he walked onto the stage on Wednesday, despite some butterflies right before his speech. But as he watched the other inductees talk, and the emotional reactions from their families, he made it a point not to establish lengthy eye contact with his own family “because I didn’t want to lose it,” he said.

Like most things in his career, Jeter was successful in that respect.

Many of his other accomplishments — including the five World Series championships, 14 All-Star Games, five Gold Gloves, 3,465 hits, 1,923 runs and .308 postseason batting average — are now etched on the plaque that will hang in the Hall of Fame’s museum forever.

As he headed off for a Wednesday night dinner with his fellow Hall of Famers, Jeter said he expected it all to soon begin sinking in.

“When everyone asks about nerves, they assume it’s because of the speech, what I may say or not say, the number of people in attendance or watching at home,” Jeter said. “No, no, no. The nerves are because of these guys behind me right now and all those that are part of the Hall of Fame family. The great part about baseball is its history and that’s what makes it so special.”

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