In the world of sports, certain players have treated us to a magical winner's mentality.
These athletes are able to perform on the big stage. They are able to take the clutch shots in basketball, get the big hit in baseball, make the key catch, run or pass in football or score the big goal in hockey. They are special people because they respond in a big-time moment.
New York has been treated to many magical moments over the years from Derek Jeter.
He is a flat-out winner in every phase of life. Everything he does is class personified and he had a special moment when he got his 3,000th hit. When you think about the great names in Yankee history, it is amazing to see that Jeter is the first Bronx Bomber to hit the amazing milestone. Names like Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth did not accomplish that feat.
I will never forget the moment when I first met Jeter. It was in the dugout at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida when the future Hall of Famer was playing for the Tampa Yankees. He was a hot prospect and I wanted to see him in person.
I remember talking to the team's manager, former Yankees catcher and Mississippi quarterback Jake Gibbs. He told me that I should mark it down, that Jeter was going to be a very special player.
At the time, Jeter was a shy young kid from Kalamazoo, Michigan. Gibbs was so right about the player with five championship rings, baby!
If I was doing a Mount Rushmore for the Yankees, I would have Jeter on there. I know some may disagree with me, but he would be there with The Babe, and Joe Di Maggio. I can respect if people disagree with me because there are so many greats that have played with the traditional power.
Would you choose Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Mariano Rivera ... you get the idea.
Jeter is one of my four because he has been a winner and the face of the Yankees for years. He is a leader and so, so classy. My friends, Derek Jeter has been a genuine superstar.
What a day getting to that 3,000th hit! He went five-for-five and got the game-winning hit. The milestone came on a home run, only the second player to reach 3000 by going deep, joining Wade Boggs in that select circle.
Over the years, we have seen Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant, Shaq and Larry Bird in basketball, Joe Montana and Tom Brady in football. These are guys who strive for success when the pressure is on.
Jeter is up there with all of them.
Congratulations to Jeter on number 3000. He is far from over as he climbs the all-time hit chart.