As we boil down our favorite moments in Derek Jeter’s Hall of Fame career, deciding where they rank becomes tougher and tougher. 5x World Series Champion, 2000 World Series MVP, American League Rookie of the Year, 14x All-Star, 5x Glove Glove, 5x Silver Slugger, 2x American League Hank Aaron Award winner, and the 15th Captain of the New York Yankees. These accolades speak to a career that was filled with iconic moments that lifted fans’ hearts and no moment lifted the hearts of Yankee fans and the entire country more than Derek’s “Mr. November” home run in the 2001 World Series.
In the weeks following the most horrific and deadliest attack on American soil, the country was in need of healing. Sports are often considered a form of entertainment, yet the recommencement of the Major League season served as much as a therapeutic experience as it did an entertaining one. Although the Yankees had been champions in three straight seasons and four of the last five, the country rallied around the Yankees more than ever as the city of New York became the symbol of great resilience.
The attacks of September 11th delayed the baseball season for five days as games didn’t resume until September 16th. This resulted in the postseason also being pushed back and for the first time in Major League history a World Series would be held in November. The Yankees dropped the first two games in Arizona by a score of 9-1 and 4-0, respectively. After winning Game 3 behind Roger Clemens’ 7 inning performance allowing just one run, the Yankees looked to tie the series at 2-2.
The Bombers trailed Game 4 in the bottom of the ninth until Tino Martinez’s two run home run tied the game and sent it to extra innings. Only one inning later, with two outs, Derek Jeter entered the box with a chance to win the game and the clock struck midnight. The crowd took notice of Yankee Stadium’s announcement that this is the first Major League game to ever be played in November. Just moments later, Derek with his signature inside-out swing took a pitch off Byung-Hyun Kim over the right field fence. The stadium erupted and the Yankees crowded Jeter at home plate to celebrate the clutch homer.
Credit to the Yankee Stadium cameraman who caught a fan holding a “Mr. November” sign up just seconds after the home run occurred. The nickname would stick and provide Yankee fans and baseball fans around the country a glimpse of hope that a city in need of healing could take refuge in a game for a few hours. Jeter’s uncanny ability to deliver when the lights shine the brightest is why he will forever carry the nicknames “Captain Clutch,” “El Capitan,” and of course “Mr. November.”