Derek Jeter Hall of Fame enshrinement: 'I wanted to make all you behind me proud'
NEW YORK - Derek Jeter, Larry Walker, Ted Simmons, and the late Marvin Miller were enshrined at the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday.
The event on the grounds of the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown came more than a year after the induction ceremonies were called off because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The four were chosen last year — no new members have been picked since then.
In his induction speech, Jeter pointed to two events in his life that made him realize that baseball is "more than just a game" — meeting Rachel Robinson, the widow of Jackie Robinson, in 1996 and baseball legend Hank Aaron in 1999. He said those meetings showed him that the "Hall of Fame family" was watching.
"So I wanted their approval. During my career, I wanted to make Mrs. Robinson proud, I wanted to make Hank Aaron proud, I wanted to make all you behind me proud," Jeter said. "Not the statistics. Proud of how I played the game, how I carried myself and how I respected the game for those before and after me."
The former shortstop also paid tribute to his parents, who were a near-constant presence at his games and were, of course, in the audience in Cooperstown on Wednesday.
"Both of you convinced me I could achieve anything if I set my mind to it," he said. "You taught me to prove people wrong. To this day, I remember every time I was doubted. It's what still drives me today."
Jeter captained a Yankees dynasty that won five World Series championships.
Derek Jeter holds his plaque during the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cooperstown, New York, Sept. 8, 2021. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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He was born in Pequannock, New Jersey, and raised in Kalamazoo, Mich.
Jeter was awarded the American League Rookie of the Year in 1996. The Yankees went to the playoffs for the next 11 years and won titles in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2009.
Jeter played no other position other than shortstop during his long career. He finished with 3,465 hits, 1,923 runs, and 4,921 total bases.
The 2021 Induction Ceremony increased the number of overall inductees to 333.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.