Friday, February 27, 2009

Making a Difference; Derek Jeter

From baseball come his stats....Derek Sanderson Jeter, born 6/26/74 in Pequannock, NJ. Major League debut- May 29, 1995. Plays shortstop, bats right. Uses a Black Smith Finish Louisville Slugger P72. Nicknamed "Mr. November".

Played his entire career, New York Yankees, 14 seasons as of 2009. He has 2,535 career hits- no player in the illustrious history of the New York Yankees has ever collected 3,000 hits playing as a Yankee. He has 206 career home runs, 1,002 RBI (usually batting second), has scored 1,467 runs, and has hit a very healthy .316 for his career. His career fielding percentage, playing only at shortstop, is a solid 975. He was named Rookie of the Year in 1996.

Anyone who has followed baseball and the New York Yankees knows that the stats don't tell the whole story regarding Derek Jeter. His intangibles make him a legend. Jeter always seems to make the big play in the field, or get the big hit, when its needed the most.

And those intangibles are found off the playing field as well. In my memory, no professional athlete has carried himself as well in the nation's biggest and most scrutinizing media market. Jeter never embarrasses himself or his team. And long ago he learned the value of giving something back.

Jeter started the Turn2Foundation during his rookie yeaof 1996.

Here's a couple of snippets from their website.

"During his rookie year in 1996, New York Yankees All-Star shortstop Derek Jeter established the Turn 2 Foundation to promote healthy lifestyles amongst 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 to" his Foundation for guidance and the much needed help to avoid drugs and alcohol."


"Our mission is to create and support signature programs and activities that motivate young people to turn away from drugs and alcohol and "Turn 2" healthy lifestyles. We will reward the positive behavior of these children, especially those demonstrating academic achievement and leadership, with the support of our sponsors, partners and Turn 2 staff. Their commitment and hands on involvement will be key.

We will use the following strategies:

Create "Signature Programs" to guide children each day towards healthy lifestyles while reinforcing the avoidance of drugs and alcohol.
Fund organizations that treat and help prevent teenage substance abuse.
Host special events as a platform for Derek to personally deliver his message to today's youth.
Leverage the integrity and popularity of Derek to raise awareness in children that good choices must be practiced daily.
Since its launch in December 1996, the Turn 2 Foundation has awarded more than $9 million in grants to Turn 2's signature programs as well as existing substance abuse prevention and treatment programs. Our efforts have reached thousands of children in the New York City, West Michigan and Tampa areas.

As Turn 2 Foundation President Derek's goal is to guide children in the right direction and help them become the leaders of tomorrow. Derek gets personally involved by visiting signature programs and hosting special events for thousands of children throughout the year."

Once upon a time a famous athlete made a commercial telling kids that he was no role model. Derek Jeter needs to commercials to try to send any messages- he, like Yoda told Luke Skywalker to do in The Empire Strikes Back...he doesn't try. He just does.

A great player...and truly one of the good guys.

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