A former 3-sport high school star from Kalamazoo is being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday. Maybe you’ve heard of him.
After a delayed ceremony due to the pandemic, Kalamazoo native Derek Jeter, who played for the New York Yankees after leaving Michigan, is finally being inducted into the Hall, along with fellow class of 2020 members Ted Simmons, Larry Walker, and the late Marvin Miller.
Jeter, born in New Jersey in 1974, moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan, with his family, at age 4, as his father pursued a Ph.D in psychology at Western Michigan University.
Jeter would grow up in Kalamazoo and attend Kalamazoo Central High School, where he ran cross country, played basketball, and played baseball -- which was his favorite sport. He was really, really good at it.
Jeter hit above .500 in his last two years playing in high school, earning multiple awards, including being named the American High School Coaches Association’s 1992 High School Player of the Year, the 1992 Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year and USA Today’s High School Player of the Year.
Jeter was drafted by the Yankees in the 1992 draft, 6th overall, while he enrolled at the University of Michigan.
Jeter took classes at Michigan in the fall semester of 1992 after playing in the minors for the Yankees, and registered again for the next fall. But after the Yankees asked him to play in the Instructional League in 1993, he took it and left college. So he never ended up playing a game for U-M.
It ended up being a pretty good decision for Jeter.
A five-time World Series champion and member of baseball’s exclusive 3,000-hit club, Jeter earned numerous accolades throughout his career in recognition of both his on-field skill and his commitment to the community, including: World Series MVP (2000); 14 MLB All-Star selections; 5 Gold Glove Awards; 5 Silver Slugger Awards; AL Rookie of the Year (1996); Roberto Clemente Award (2009); and Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year Award (2009).
Jeter continues to be the driving force behind the Turn 2 Foundation, which he established in 1996 to give back to the communities with which he has a close connection, including West Michigan, Tampa and New York City. He satisfies his passion for inspiring young people through initiatives -- like the Jeter’s Leaders program -- that promote academic excellence, leadership development, positive behavior, healthy choices and social change. To date, the Turn 2 Foundation has awarded more than $30 million in grants to create and support signature programs that motivate young people to turn away from drugs and alcohol and “Turn 2” healthy lifestyles.
So, congrats to Derek Jeter for making the Baseball Hall of Fame. From all of us here in Michigan, we’re proud.