Some Leaders Wear Pinstrips and Play Shortstop: Derek Jeter Announces His Retirement

When the people discuss leadership, they use words like charisma, intelligence, confidence, honesty, integrity, and commitment. All of these adjectives apply to Derek Jeter.

Jeter is the second great player to retire from the New York Yankees in two years.  Mariano Rivera, whom “Bleacher Report” calls the greatest closer of all time, retired from baseball last year.  During a period in which steroid use marred baseball, Rivera and Jeter played historically great baseball and exhibited team and public leadership.  Derek Jeter’s accomplishments include Rookie of the Year, thirteen-time All-Star, and five Gold Gloves.

Jeter has detractors who point out that he had great teammates to support him and that his personal performance was greater because of these teammates.  The fact is that Jeter had to earn the job of shortstop on a team that can afford to sign any shortstop in baseball, the New York Yankees.

When other players were using steroids, Derek Jeter did not use them.  This fact should come as no surprise.  His father is Sanderson Charles Jeter, a substance abuse counselor.  His mother is Dorothy Jeter, an accountant.  As a child, Derek Jeter signed commitments to his parents.  He agreed to things that he would do and things that he would not do.  Derek Jeter has carried these lessons into his life as an adult.  The following quotes are on the official website of Derek Jeter’s Turn-2 Foundation.

“During his rookie year in 1996, New York Yankees All-Star shortstop Derek Jeter established the Turn 2 Foundation to promote healthy lifestyles among youth. While sharing a pizza in a Detroit hotel room, Derek announced to his father that he was ready for his own foundation. Then and there, they laid the plans for Turn 2.

The name “Turn 2” is symbolic of the dramatic double play made by infielders during a game. It also represents Derek’s wish to promote healthy lifestyles among young people and enable them to “Turn 2″ his Foundation for guidance and the much needed help to avoid drugs and alcohol.

Due to Derek’s close association with West Michigan, Tampa, Fla., and New York City, programs in those areas are of primary concern to the Foundation. Since its launch in December 1996, the Turn 2 Foundation has awarded more than $19 million in grants to promote healthy lifestyles for thousands of youths.”

Through the Turn-2 Foundation, Jeter has founded a substance abuse center, Phoenix House.

“At the Derek Jeter Center at Phoenix House in Tampa, FL, the doors are always open to welcome adolescents as they begin their journey to recovery. The Center provides comprehensive outpatient services for adolescents and helps families deal with adolescent substance abuse and co-occurring mental health issues. Teens confront the underlying causes of their substance abuse and regain control of their lives by establishing sobriety and building support networks to help sustain recovery.”

Jeter has many fans who will miss him.  His attitude toward baseball is probably a good attitude for life.

“You gotta have fun. Regardless of how you look at it, we’re playing a game. It’s a business, it’s our job, but I don’t think you can do well unless you’re having fun.”

“The World’s Noblest Headhunter”

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