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Baseball’s Hall of Fame honoree Derek Jeter is known for many achievements, and high among them is the number of championships the shortstop won with the team he played with his entire career, the New York Yankees. Is Jeter’s accumulation of World Series rings exaggerated, or is it just another baseball legend?
It’s real. Derek Jeter has 5 World Series rings, commemorating Major League Baseball championships with the Yankees in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2009.
It’s not close to the most World Series rings won by a Yankees player ~ that would be 10, by Yogi Berra ~ but Jeter’s accomplishments are very noteworthy nonetheless. Baseball immortal Babe Ruth won 7 titles in his storied career ~ but only 4 as a player with the Yankees.
World Series rings are large, elaborate pieces of finger jewelry given to each player of the team that wins the World Series each year.
Many famed baseball players ~ including a couple inducted into the Hall of Fame along with Jeter in 2019, Larry Walker and Ted Simmons ~ never won a World Series title.
Derek Jeter Play in the World Series
Jeter is among a short list of players who in their very first season won a World Series title. Jeter was named Rookie of the Year in 1996, the season that ended with the Yankees winning their first world championship since 1978, in a 6-game affair over the Atlanta Braves.
He ended up winning 4 titles in his first 5 years as the Yankees starting shortstop. He also played in a couple of World Series that the Yanks failed to win, in 2001 and 2003. From there on, he played in only 1 more World Series, in which the Yankees won, in 2009.
Jeter played several more seasons with the Yankees, retiring after the 2014 season, but he never returned to the World Series after 2009.
Big World Series Moments by Derek Jeter
Besides being a leader on several championship Yankees teams, Jeter is also known as someone who played exceedingly well during the postseason. In fact, some of his most iconic moments came during World Series play. Among them Jeter’s postseason highlights:
- Jeffrey Maier Home Run (1996). He hit the most-famous home run during the Yankees’ road to the 1996 title: the “Jeffrey Maier home run.”. In the 8th inning of Game 1 of the American League Championship Series against the Baltimore Orioles, Jeter hit a deep fly ball to right field that cleared the fence ~ with the (illegal) aid of a 12-year-old fan who reached onto the field of play and deflected the ball with his glove away from the O’s right fielder. Despite rigorous protests from the Orioles, the home run stood, and the Yankees tied the game that they eventually won in 11 innings. From there they rolled to win both the ALCS and the World Series for the MLB championship.
- Leadoff Home Run (2000). Jeter hit the first pitch of Game 4 of the 2000 World Series for a home run, propelling the Yankees to a much-needed victory as the subway rival New York Mets were building momentum off a Game 3 victory. Many baseball experts point to Jeter’s leadoff homer as the pivotal point in the series ~ of which he was named Most Valuable Player.
- Mr. November Home Run (2001). Due to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that year, the World Series for the first time ever stretched into November. In fact, Game 4 started on Halloween but the 10th inning moved past midnight as the Yankees batted in the bottom half of the inning, trailing the series 2 games to 1 to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Off Diamondbacks closer Byung-Hyun Kim, Jeter hit a homer down the right-field line to end the game and tie the series. It was the first November home run in baseball history.
Besides the 5 World Series that Jeter won, he also played in 2 others (2001 and 2003). His World Series statistics are Hall of Fame worthy:
- .321 batting average in 38 games
- 32 runs
- 3 home runs
- 9 runs batted in
- 9 doubles
- .384 on-base percentage
Not only was Jeter a key player in some of the most memorable World Series of all time, he was known as a “clutch” performer, someone who came through when his team needed it most. Besides the hitting prowess, he also made some plays in the field that helped spark his team toward a victory.
Could Derek Jeter Have Won More World Series Championships?
Jeter played his entire career with a big-market club known for spending whatever was needed in player salaries to not only compete, but challenge for the World Series title year after year.
Though he was able to pull the Yankees to 5 championships, his lengthy career after their 2000 World Series title featured quite a bit of near-misses and heartbreaks in the postseason.
There were the losses in the last game of the 2001 and 2003 World Series, against the Arizona Diamondbacks and Florida Marlins, respectively. There were also years when the Yankees came quite close to the Series, but in the end came up short.
The most notable was the 2004 American League Championship Series, in which the Yankees took a 3 games to none lead versus their arch-rival Boston Red Sox. No team in the history of the MLB dating back to 1876 had lost a postseason series after securing a 3-game advantage in a best-of-7 series.
However, the Yankees faltered (dramatically) in extra innings in games 4 and 5, and the Sox prevailed in New York in the final 2 games en route to their first World Series title in 86 years. (The Red Sox did not lose a game after Game 3 of the ALCS).
In that Series, Jeter hit only .200, though he did score 5 runs and drove in another 5 runners. He also was on base during the most memorable moment of the series, when Alex Rodriguez illegally hand-chopped the ball out of a pitcher’s glove along the first-base line. On the play, Jeter crossed home plate with a fist up as if the Yankees were coming back ~ only to be returned to 2nd base once Rodriguez was called out for interference.
Jeter’s Yankees also lost the ALCS in 2010 and 2012, to the Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers, respectively. The Tigers series, Jeter’s last in the ALCS, ended disappointingly in a Detroit sweep, 4 games to none.
After the 2009 season, Jeter’s Yankees teams were good and qualified almost always for post-season play, but they seemed to be missing a key core of veterans that the Bronx Bombers had early in his career including Mariano Rivera, Bernie Williams, Andy Pettitte, and Jorge Posada.
Question: Babe Ruth won 4 titles with the Yankees. What other championship teams did he play for?
Answer: As a pitcher with the Boston Red Sox, Ruth won MLB titles in 1915, 1916, and 1918. In fact, in those Series contests, Ruth set a pitching record of 29 ⅔ consecutive scoreless innings in World Series play, a record that stood for 43 years until Whitey Ford of the Yankees ended it in 1961.
Q.: Yogi Berra won 10 titles as a player. Did anyone win more World Series titles than that?
A.: Yes, Frankie Crosetti won 17 as a player and as a coach, all with the Yankees. He won 8 as a player from 1932 to 1948, then another 9 more as a coach through 1962. He just happened to remain with the team through periods of dynastic dominance.
Q.: How many All-Star games did Derek Jeter play in?
A.: 14, from 20 seasons of MLB play. In 2000, the year he won the World Series MVP, Jeter also was named MVP of that season’s All-Star Game.