The Irish in America


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Day 26 of Irish American Favorites: Derek Jeter

JeterNothing can change my mind faster about a celebrity than the 60 Minutes (weekly television news magazine) profile. Whenever an actor or sports figure is too popular, when everyone is talking about them, I want nothing to do with them. This was the case with Derek Jeter – today’s Irish American favorite.

Derek Jeter is the shortstop for the New York Yankees. Before I saw the legendary Ed Bradley’s 60 Minutes profile in 2006, I never paid much attention to Derek Jeter, beyond annoyance that his team always beat my team, the Minnesota Twins.

Very early in Bradley’s  piece, Jeter described his first season in the minor league when he committed 52 errors. He said he would think to himself, “Maybe they won’t hit it to me again.” But of course, the very next ball was hit to him. He played shortstop; he was going to see a lot of balls. This comment immediately endeared Jeter to me.

Bradley introduced Jeter’s parents. His Irish roots come from his mother, Dorothy, who had high standards for Derek, insisting he never use the word can’t. His parents required him to sign a contract each year, outlining what was acceptable and unacceptable behavior.

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Clearly, his parents gave him the foundation necessary to become a successful man and a great ballplayer.  I learned all about his work ethic, dedication, and focus, attributes which make Derek Jeter one of the best baseball players in the game. He is a true professional and a great teammate.

Derek Jeter is the real deal. Many people knew that long before I jumped on the bandwagon, but I just needed 60 Minutes to open my eyes.

Today is Derek Jeter’s birthday – Happy Birthday and I hope you are back on the diamond soon!