Fans and critics alike have always said that Derek Jeter was a great player and a great person. His work ethic and dedication to the game of baseball is truly remarkable, and the way he carries himself while leading the Yankees to another World Series victory has been inspirational to many young people around the world.
Derek Jeter, the captain of the New York Yankees and a first ballot Hall of Famer, announced yesterday (August 3rd) that he will retire at the end of the 2018 season.
Having played his entire career in New York, Derek Jeter was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday at Cooperstown. The Yankees shortstop is one of six players inducted into the Hall, which also includes baseball legends Yogi Berra, Sandy Koufax, Cal Ripken, Jr., Tony Gwynn and Marvin Miller.
It’s the play that personifies Derek Jeter’s amazing mix of athleticism, agility, and, most importantly, awareness. It’s the most memorable, spectacular play of Derek Jeter’s career. It’s one of the most iconic plays in postseason baseball history, having been repeated hundreds of times every October for the last two decades. It has a moniker, as do many memorable plays. It’ll always be referred to as The Flip.
It happened during the American League Division Series between the New York Yankees and the Oakland Athletics in 2001. Oakland led the best-of-five series 2-0, but trailed 1-0 in Game 3 on Oct. 13 in the bottom of the eighth inning. Terrence Long hit a strong ground ball over the first-base bag with two outs and Jeremy Giambi on first. Shane Spencer of the Yankees fielded it in the right-field corner, but overthrew two cutoff men: Alfonso Soriano of second base and Tino Martinez of first base. On a very tight play at the plate, Jeter raced across the diamond, retrieved the ball on one hop in foul area between first and home, and made a backhand flip to catcher Jorge Posada. The Yankees won the game 1-0, then went on to win the following two to reach the American League Championship Series and eventually the World Series.
“You’ve reopened an old sore for me,” Art Howe, the A’s manager at the time, says. “For a long time, Jeter was a thorn in my side, but he made an incredible play. The flip was amazing, but I have no idea what he was thinking in that situation. ‘And there he is, at the ideal location.’”
What makes The Flip even more fascinating is the ongoing discussion over it. Is it possible that Giambi should have slipped on the play? The majority of those concerned believe he should have, and that he would have been safe. Is Giambi actually on the mound? At the time, Oakland pitcher Barry Zito and many other A’s claimed he was safe. Was Ramon Hernandez, the on-deck circle hitter, telling Giambi to slide? If Spencer had struck one of the two cutoff guys, would Giambi have been safe? If any of the cutoff guys had been struck, would Giambi have been sent home? And what was Jeter doing on that play, all the way over on the first-base line?
The greatest thing about the play, though, is that no one involved had ever seen it before or after it was created.
Joe Torre, who has spent 60 years in the big leagues as a player, manager, and executive, adds, “I’ve never seen that play.” “I was definitely pleased when I first saw it in Game 3 of the division series.”
Howe claims he’d never seen the play before.
He adds, “And you’ll never see it again.”
A long home run to first base.
Take a look back at some of Derek Jeter’s most memorable moments as a member of the New York Yankees.
Derek Jeter is a baseball player who plays for the New “I am a strong believer in planning ahead. Before anything happens, I always go through all of the potential possibilities in my mind. Athletes often speak about how they slow down the game and how they slow down while preparing. You have a runner on second base, you’re playing shortstop, and you know whether to go to your left or right. You’re coming in, you know the runner’s pace, you know the various situations, you know which runners run hard and which runners don’t. All of these checkpoints are in your mind. So when [Long] hit the ball down the line, I knew exactly what to expect. I was at the right place at the right time. That’s how I’ve always seen it.”
Tino Martinez was the first baseman for the New York Yankees from 1996 through 2001 and again in 2005. “It’s one of those plays where as soon as it gets over the bag, it’s a definite triple. On that ball down the right-field line, it’s a double cutoff play, an obvious double-cut play.”
Ron Washington was the A’s third base/infield coach from 1996 to 2006, and again from 2015 to 2016. “They must have rehearsed that play, according to what I’ve heard. They most likely did.”
Joe Torre was the manager of the New York Yankees from 1996 until 2007. “When people ask me about the play, I tell them that we worked on it at spring training, and they kind of laugh at me. There’s a reason we worked on it in the first place. Someone as athletic as Derek is required to make a judgment on where the play will be made.”
From 1995 until 2011, Jorge Posada was the catcher for the New York Yankees. “In spring training, we rehearsed that play. That play does not take place throughout the year. It just so happened to happen during the playoffs versus the A’s.”
The cutoff guys are missing.
Jeter “In such scenario, my role is to serve as the third cutoff guy. And it’s just to divert the throw to third base 99.9% of the time. You’d think one of the first two cutoff guys would be struck, yet he overthrew both of them in that scenario. Consider this: if he had hit any of those, Giambi would have been thrown out at home by approximately 15 feet. It went right over both of their heads, as I could see. If you look at the hop, you’ll see that it took Jorge away from the plate because the throw began to check up, up the line.”
Art Howe was the A’s manager from 1996 until 2002. “If he had struck the cutoff guy, he would have been out from here till next week at home.”
Martinez “I was the second guy to be cut off. I was the trail man, but I remained near first base in case he overthrew the first cutoff man. Shane has a strong arm. He sent both of us airmail. I leapt and didn’t even have a chance to grab it before it flew away. If he hits Soriano, Soriano must now make a flawless relay throw to the plate in order to catch him. Everything’s almost as if it worked out in our advantage since a flawless relay is difficult to come by these days. Derek was in the correct place, so it almost worked out better that he airmailed both of us.”
Shane Spencer, outfielder with the New York Yankees from 1998 to 2002 “[Laughing] There was no action because Mussina and [A’s starter Barry] Zito were pitching so well, so when the ball was hit down the line, [Martinez] just assumed [Paul] O’Neill [the everyday right fielder, who didn’t start against Zito, a left-hander] was out there, and the ball would go all the way to the wall. As a result, I chopped it off before it reached the wall. I turned around and threw it out the window. ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, who It was most likely one of my greatest throws of all time. As a result, the one occasion I miss a cutoff guy because they were both in the wrong place, I get the overthrow and he gets the ESPY.”
“All I know is that I’m often asked this question, whether it’s from kids at clinics or from adults: ‘Wait a minute, you’re the one who threw the ball?’ ‘Yes, yeah, that’s me,’ I say. ‘OK guys, now let’s hit the cutoff man,’ I say as I instruct.” Spencer, Shane
Mike Mussina was a pitcher with the New York Yankees from 2001 to 2008. “I raced toward [the A’s] dugout to stop the play and searched for the ball, unsure whether it was going to second or home, and then I’d swerve one way or the other.”
Torre “With two outs and a 1-0 lead, there’s a strong likelihood the play will be at the plate… if there is one. We don’t care whether [the batter] gets to third; all that matters is that he doesn’t score. Derek’s agility, along with his excellent instincts, allowed him to make that play. You must adopt the perspective of the third-base coach. In no way, shape, or form, do I believe he will remain at third base. They’ll take their shot and hope that someone will have to make a play.”
Washington “I would have stopped Jeremy at third if [Spencer] had hit one of those cutoff guys.”
Howe “[Laughing] Knowing Wash, I’m not sure whether that’s correct.”
Mussina “The strange thing is, that scenario only comes around once in ten years, and for Derek to handle it properly… We do things out of habit; I rush back up home on that play out of habit, but this was not habit. It is not customary for the right fielder to overthrow both cutoff guys. And Derek was still in the right position at the right moment.”
Torre “You have a 50-50 chance of throwing over two cutoff men if you throw over one. Spencer in right field is just going to spin and throw, handing the ball off to someone else. It’s like a pitcher throwing a fastball and holding on to it a little too long, resulting in the ball landing in foul area. That’s quite a ways away from the cutoff guy.”
Spencer “I’m not sure whether Tino has the arm power to pull him out if I toss it to him. Soriano has the arm power, but will it be accurate if I get it to him? What are the chances?”
Posada “I took two steps away from the plate to grab the ball as soon as I saw him overthrow the two cutoff men. I intended to go retrieve the ball and attempt to force [Long] out at second base. But, thank goodness, I caught a glimpse of [Jeter] out of the corner of my eye. I’d cleared out home plate entirely. When I spotted Derek, I retraced my steps and returned.”
Washington “Spencer threw it out of that corner and it missed them all… and Derek Jeter was there.”
Spencer “I’ve seen a lot of various perspectives. You’ve had to take a chance on that one. Friends of mine believe the throw would have defeated him anyway, and Posada initially said that it would. However, if you look at it closely, it would have been a bang-bang play any way. I’m not sure. I don’t give a damn. All I know is that I’m always asked this question, whether it’s from kids at clinics or from adults: ‘Wait a minute, you’re the one who threw the ball?’ ‘Yes, yeah, that’s me,’ I say. ‘OK guys, now let’s hit the cutoff man,’ I say as I instruct.”
Jeter “We got him out at the plate, so it’s difficult to say anything went wrong on that play. We wouldn’t be sitting here talking about it today if Shane had struck one of those two cutoff guys.”
Jeter sprints to the scene.
Jeter “On a play like that, I’ve been in that vicinity before, but I’ve never fielded it and flipped it home. For me, it’s the first time. This is the only opportunity.”
Mussina “His accountability is like an unrestricted safety net. He was able to determine the ball’s trajectory. No one else was in position to grab the ball since it was thrown too high. Because he was paying attention, he sprinted 60 to 70 feet to get into position. I was making my way back to my house. ‘Where did he come from?’ I wondered as I glanced over my shoulder and saw him rushing. ‘How could it happen so quickly?’”
Washington “I’ve seen people miss the cutoff man, and when it happens, it rolls, and someone tries to grab it, but the run is already over the plate by the time they reach it. Derek was meant to be in the center, floating. He saw that the ball was missing everyone and, like the clever player he has always been, he moved from his current position to the line. He knew the setup, saw the ball coming out, and instinctively walked away since he realized no one was going to grab it. It wasn’t simply that he got there; many clever ballplayers would have done it as well. I’ve sprinted to that position as a shortstop. But I’ve never had a ball bounce back to me like Derek Jeter did.”
“I was making my way back to my house. ‘Where did he come from?’ I wondered as I glanced over my shoulder and saw him rushing. ‘How could it happen so quickly?’” Mussina, Mike
Martinez “On a ball down the left-field line, it’s the same thing for me. In an emergency, the shortstop and third baseman double-cut, and I, the first baseman, go to where Derek went, just on the third-base line. But, unlike Derek, I’ve never had the ball come to me.”
Torre “Because he can see Giambi at third base, Derek had the greatest view of the play. He was essentially going to outrun Giambi to home plate because he needed to get there first. Derek has excellent intuition, and instincts are very essential. When the ball was struck, I don’t believe Derek had any other plans but to return home. The worst-case scenarios are second and third if he was incorrect and the man didn’t go home.”
Howe “It was a fantastic play on Jeter’s part to potentially anticipate that throw. His job description calls for him to be a third-base cutoff guy.”
Martinez “I looked around, and Derek was right there, catching it on the one jump, and it felt like everything went backwards from then.”
Jeter “I’m sure I’ve been there before. However, a lot of things must happen in order for that play to take place.”
Jeter “‘Just get rid of it as quickly as possible,’ I was thinking. There was just not enough time to accomplish anything else. That was the only way I was going to be able to get rid of the ball in that amount of time. It was as simple as catching it and throwing it away in one move.”
Washington “His flip was crucial on that play. Most players attempt to flip the ball straight to the catcher from the outside of the line, which causes the ball to fade on the other side. Derek, on the other hand, flicked the ball to the inside. He was able to get it back to the catcher. He drove the catcher into the runner.”
Martinez “I call it the perfect flip, the ideal thrown ball to the exact place, because he pitched it straight back to Jorge. Jorge was struck directly at the bottom of home plate, not high enough for him to slide under him. It was directly in front of the batter’s box. The only way Jorge could have made that play is if Derek had flipped him the ball precisely where he needed to go. He didn’t have time to get up, grab it, and return it to its proper place.”
Torre “Derek’s back flip was very unusual. The fact that he got so deep into foul area to grab the ball, then backflipped, was really amazing.”
Mussina “A lot of players speak about simply making a play when you see them. He’d just made a move that no one else would have thought of. That’s the mark of a Hall of Famer: the ball bounces two or three times, and it’s too late to pick it up and toss it to the plate 99 times out of 100. But the one time it occurred, he read the play precisely and flicked it backwards, 40 to 45 yards out, on target.”
Posada “On the double play, it seemed like a second baseman flipping to the shortstop. He’s a shortstop with the Red Sox. He flicked the ball in an unusual manner for a shortstop. I was able to grab the ball because of his precision and the fact that he had some hair on his head.”
Spencer “‘What are you doing snatching the ball?’ I wondered the first time I saw it. ‘I had him at the plate,’ I said.”
catching and tagging
Jeter “‘Tag him,’ was all that was going through my head. Kerwin [Danley, the plate umpire] called out when I glanced at him. It’s not a play that you put together. Jorge has never been shovel-passed a ball before. He fielded it and applied the tag with care. It seemed like the ideal storm to me.”
Torre “Georgie deserves a lot of credit for remaining at home, as a former catcher. He might have simply drifted over to where the ball was and started running. However, he chose to remain at home, catch the ball, and make a tough tag.”
Mussina “Posada put up a fantastic performance. It was like, ‘Holy crap!’ to catch it, swipe tag. How did he not allow the ball be booted out of his hand on that throw, with the ball between his legs? It was a traditional Yankee production. From the opposite side, I’d seen it many times: everything went their way for 30 seconds.”
“He’ll be safe if he slips. Certainly. a hundred percent “”It’s a hundred percent.” Posada, Jorge
Posada “It was simply one of those swipe tags where you want to be the first to grab the ball. It was simply that a lot of things occurred to us that didn’t happen to them. On that play, I might have been injured. My hands might have been scissored by him. I’m not sure how I got it. I snatched it and returned the swipe. It’s possible that the ball became dislodged. It also helped a lot that I tagged him with my palm instead of my open hand. A lot of things worked out in our favor. We were fortunate that [Giambi] did not slide. Ramon Hernandez, the man who was striking behind him, did not urge Jeremy to slide. A lot of things worked out in our favor.”
Howe “That is incorrect. After the performance, I inquired of Ramon. When the play was finished, I was enraged to say the least. They were returning to the dugout, and I immediately questioned Ramon, “Did you instruct him to slide?” ‘Yeah, I was asking him to get down,’ he replied. As a result, I’ll take his word for it. However, I don’t believe he appears in any of the photographs.”
Washington “We could go through it again and instruct Jeremy to go down in the ground, and he’d be safe. However, he chose to sprint over the plate. The person in charge of the on-deck circle never made it up there to control traffic. He was never ordered to get down by the on-deck circle man. When it’s a 1-0 game, though, Jeremy Giambi is supposed to know he needs to hit the dirt. There’s no need to dash over that plate. However, the ball began to move. On the play, everyone had a part to perform.”
Posada “He’ll be safe if he slips. Certainly. a hundred percent a hundred percent I just completed a ghost tag. On the way down to the plate, to tag him on the calf.”
Howe “That’s something I’m not sure of. Posada had gotten his foot in the door. If he slips, he may be able to block him off the plate. If he had slipped, I’m not sure he would have been completely safe. Jeremy tried his hardest to score, but he couldn’t.”
“Out! He’s no longer with us! He was definitely out. You can’t do anything about that right now. It’s similar to Jeffrey Maier’s home run in the ALDS against the Orioles in 1996. It’s a slam dunk. Whatever you want to call it, it’s over.” Derek Jeter is a baseball player who plays for the New
Martinez “The umpire made an excellent decision. With no replay at the time, if he declares him safe and we can’t review it, that might have flipped the whole series around, and maybe altered the dimension of the entire playoffs.”
Washington “In my heart, I know I made the correct decision. You may make the correct decision on occasion, but everyone must be on board and doing their part. I’m not blaming Jeremy Giambi, but he’s supposed to be on the disabled list. You only avoid hitting the ground if you notice the ball and no one can reach it. You’ve got to get your hands dirty.”
Giambi refused an interview for this article, but he told The Athletic a year ago that he stands by his choice not to slide:
“Now that we know what occurred, I’m starting to wonder whether I should have slipped.” If I slipped and fell, the issue could be whether I should have ran Posada over. Then I consider if I should have taken him out. Then I remember Pete Rose’s hit on Ray Fosse in the 1970 All-Star Game, and I thought to myself, “What if I destroy Posada’s career?”
“We can’t look at such things. Obviously, I consider it. I don’t dwell on it, but it does cross my mind. That, I believe, is due to our competitive mentality. We were going to win the World Series, after all. I know it was the first round, but we always felt like we had to go through the Yankees, and if you got past the Yankees at the time, you had a fairly decent shot. They were the squad that had to be defeated.”
Is Giambi actually on the mound?
Howe “When you need replay, where is it? He wasn’t out, in my opinion. After his foot had struck the plate, I believed he tagged him on the back of his leg. But, what are your plans? There is nothing that can be altered. On replay, however, they are unlikely to be able to overturn it. Before they overturn a play, they must have clear evidence that it is one way or the other. I’ll tell you that after the game, the umpire [Danley] contacted me and informed me that if he slips, he’ll be fine. He didn’t, however, fall.”
After the game, what did Howe say to Giambi?
Howe “I didn’t say anything to Jeremy, in fact. I didn’t believe it was acceptable to confront a player about it.”
Jeter “Out! He’s no longer with us! He was definitely out. You can’t do anything about that right now. It’s similar to Jeffrey Maier’s home run in the ALDS against the Orioles in 1996. It’s a slam dunk. Whatever you want to call it, it’s over.”
The audience’s response after the game
Jeter “I’m going to tell you the truth. [What it was like in the dugout after the play] I don’t recall. Everyone was pumped up. Even so, we needed to win that game. It was a 1-0 score. You’re overjoyed that it occurred. ‘We have to win this game,’ however, was the thinking process.”
Martinez “‘We still have a one-run lead!’ was the reply. We were being turned off. ‘Let’s get some more runs,’ was the first response. We thought it was a fantastic play, but seeing the highlights on ESPN after the game was like, ‘Wow!’ I’m seeing that all the time now. It’s on all the time at the stadium. I’m sure it’ll get even more airplay the week he’s inducted into the Hall of Fame. It’s always entertaining to see.”
Posada “It felt like hitting a game-winning home run. That was the prevailing mood in the dugout. Everyone is ecstatic. Everyone is high-fiving one other. Everybody is yelling. ‘Let’s go!’ Derek exclaims. That kind of thing.”
Howe “That hit me square in the stomach. If they’re going to defeat us, the closer, the big guy [Mariano Rivera], will have to throw more than one inning or two innings. And he wasn’t actually doing it at the time. Anything might happen if we get into their other bullpen guys.”
Mussina “I’m not sure how the dugout responded, but I know how Jeter would have reacted: ‘I spotted the ball; I chased it down; I grabbed it and threw it.’ It’s a big thing. So, what’s the point? ‘I completed the task at hand.’”
Posada “Derek most likely played it down a little. However, this is a one-of-a-kind play by a Hall of Famer.”
Jeter “I’ve seen a lot of it. When people talk about my profession, it tends to be one of the first topics they bring up. And that’s all right with me since we won the game.”
What do you think it’s worth among Derek Jeter’s best plays?
Martinez “Because of the importance of it, being in the playoffs, and turning an actual playoff game in our favor, it had to be in his top five, if not No. 1. I’ve watched him make many backhand plays, diving plays, leap throws, and over-the-shoulder receptions go undetected. That had to be his first option.”
Torre “I don’t believe anything comes close to that play, the pressure involved in it, when you’re down two games to none in Game 3 and it’s a 1-0 game in the eighth inning.”
“That was a fantastic performance. He is a champion because of that performance.” Washington, Ron
Mussina “I watched him make a top-two or -three play there. I watched him fall into the bleachers and smash his nose. He’s had a lot of huge hits, and I’ve seen him get a lot of them. But it was the turning point in his life. It simply stated how a professional baseball player is expected to perform. He was always in the right position at the right time during his career; he raced out every ground ball and fought every at-bat as the Yankees’ shortstop. He had 3,000 hits, but it was that play that earned him a spot in the Hall of Fame.”
Posada “It’s a long way up. He seems to be at the right place at the right moment all of the time. His glove, too, had become clingy. There were other plays — the play in the hole, the play into the stands in the Boston series, and so on — but this one… if we don’t make it, we’re out. We’re up 1-0, but if they tie it up at home, everything changes. It demonstrates how significant, critical, and crucial that play was. When we speak about Derek Jeter, we always start with that play.”
Washington “It’s something I’ve seen a thousand times. That was a fantastic performance. He is a champion because of that performance.”
Spencer “[I have no idea where it ranks] because I had no idea what occurred on that play. I tossed it where I normally would have thrown it, but no one was there. ‘Oh, s—-!’ I said. And I had no idea Jeter was there since I didn’t see him make the play. I remember running into the dugout and asking [teammate] Clay Bellinger, ‘What the heck happened?’ ‘Jeter caught it and flipped it,’ he added. ‘What?!’ I exclaimed. I’m receiving high-fives from the bench, and I have no idea what’s going on.”
No one knows for sure what occurred on that play… since no one had ever seen it before.
Jeter “No, I’ve never seen it [before or after]. That synchronicity. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen another team work on alignment as hard as we did. It’s something I’ve never seen before. No, it isn’t entirely accurate. After that, Phil Rizzuto [the Yankees’ shortstop-turned-broadcaster] tossed out the [ceremonious] first pitch at home in the game. He sprinted up the first-base line and threw the ball home.”
Derek Jeter entered the Baseball Hall of Fame this week. He will be the latest player to enter the Hall of Fame, having been spent his whole career with the New York Yankees. He plays a small role in the Yankees history, but a large part of the history of the sport. He had a quiet, yet prosperous career, unlike his teammates, who fought against each other on the field. Jeter made a name for himself with the Yankees by being the highest payed player, as well as the highest scoring player, for a long time.. Read more about derek jeter cooperstown tickets and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
When did Derek Jeter get in the Hall of Fame?
Derek Jeter was inducted into the Hall of Fame on July 27, 2017.
Did Derek Jeter get inducted into the Hall of Fame?
Yes, Derek Jeter was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014.
Who introduced Derek Jeter at Hall of Fame?
Derek Jeter was introduced by his former teammate, Alex Rodriguez.
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