It has been 14 years since Derek Jeter made one of the most memorable plays in a career chock-full of memorable plays.
In the 12th inning of a tie game against the Red Sox, Trot Nixon popped up down the left field line. Jeter, in a dead sprint from his shortstop position, made an over the shoulder catch. He had so much momentum that he launched himself over the railing and ended up two rows deep. He emerged with a cut on his chin and blood running from his cheek. The Yankees went on to win the game in the bottom of the 13th inning on a John Flaherty single.
The play was classic Jeter. It didn’t matter if it was a game in July and a pop fly that was in foul territory, he gave his all on every single play. It is one of the most iconic Jeter moments and is as vivid in people’s minds as the day it happened.
“I remember having a great view from the bullpen. We were amazed that he covered as much ground as he did to get there. Then, all we saw was Derek disappear, and it went from amazement to concern he was hurt. Like everyone else, seeing his face bloody and bruised raised a lot of concern, because we didn’t know how bad it was or if we’d lose him for a period of time.” -John Flaherty
This was voted the Play of the Year in the This Year in Baseball Awards, as voted on by fans on MLB.com. The Captain won his first Gold Glove Award after the season, this diving catch cited as the reason for the win.
The play is part of baseball lore. Whenever a player goes into the stands today, you will always hear the commentators say his name. The headlines the next day will always read: “so and so pulls a Jeter, dives into stands.”
“That’s probably the best play I’ve ever seen. I’ve never seen a guy of his caliber go all out like that. It shows you how important these games are.” -Gary Sheffield