Jeter named SI's Sportsman of the Year
Yankees captain lauded for performance, community work
NEW YORK -- Derek Jeter's ultimate goal for the 2009 season has already been fulfilled, having had the opportunity to hoist the World Series championship trophy into the sky on a chilly November evening in the Bronx.
But the accolades continue to pile up in what has been a banner year for the Yankees shortstop and captain. Sports Illustrated announced on Monday that it will honor Jeter with its Sportsman of the Year award.
Jeter is the first Yankee among the magazine's honorees, dating back to 1954. The Dec. 7 issue is scheduled to hit newsstands on Wednesday, featuring cover art of Jeter leaning against the 161st Street Yankee Stadium subway stop in full uniform, a photo that was taken after the World Series.
"It's a tremendous award," Jeter told the Dan Patrick Show in an interview on Monday. "It's an award that's been around for such a long time. For me, it means more than just playing sports. I'd like to think it has something to do with how you conduct yourself as well. Looking at the guys that have won it in the past, it's quite an honor."
Jeter will be presented with the award during an event to be held Tuesday in New York.
"Over all the years SI editors have used the same language to define the award," said Sports Illustrated group editor Terry McDonell. "It is not for the victory alone that he [or she] is honored; rather it is for the quality of his effort and the manner of his striving. And that defines Derek Jeter."
Serving as an integral part to the Yankees' 27th World Series championship, Jeter batted .334 in the regular season and .407 in the Fall Classic to capture his fifth ring and first since 2000.
Jeter led the American League by reaching base 289 times, finished second in hits (212), third in batting average and on-base percentage (.406), fourth in runs (107) and eighth in stolen bases (30).
Sportsmen of the Year
|1979||Willie Stargell (with Terry Bradshaw)|
|1995||Cal Ripken Jr.|
|1998||Mark McGwire/Sammy Sosa|
|2001||Curt Schilling/Randy Johnson|
|2004||Boston Red Sox|
On Sept. 11, he passed Lou Gehrig's franchise mark for base hits, which now stands at 2,747 in Jeter's 15 seasons.
The 35-year-old, who anchored the Yankees' lineup from the top of the order for most of the season, was also named to the AL All-Star team for the 10th time while winning his fourth Silver Slugger Award and fourth Rawlings Gold Glove Award.
Jeter then finished third in the AL MVP vote behind near-unanimous winner Joe Mauer and new teammate Mark Teixeira.
During the World Series, Jeter was named the AL recipient of the Hank Aaron Award -- given to the best hitter in each league -- and Major League Baseball's Roberto Clemente Award, awarded to players who not only succeed on the field, but off of it with community involvement.
"While having a Hall of Fame career and under a brilliant spotlight, Derek conducts himself with class and a selfless demeanor that allows not only his teammates but also his sport and his community to flourish," McDonell said.
"It was his leadership both on and off the field that drove the Yankees to the world championship, and his Turn 2 Foundation is one of the most efficient and effective foundations of its kind. It is an honor to include Derek Jeter in the Sportsman fraternity."
In describing his approach to radio host Dan Patrick, Jeter said, "I don't know if you ever sit down and think about it. I think it's just who you are. It's not a planned thing. The longer you've been around, you realize that you're playing in a special place. You talk to parents and they're talking about how their kids look up to you, and you may realize it. But it's not a planned situation."
Jeter is the first baseball player to win the award solo since Cal Ripken Jr. in 1995. In '98, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were co-winners after their home run-bashing summer, and Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling shared the honor after leading the D-backs to a World Series championship in 2001.
Jeter is SI's 10th baseball honoree and only the third in the past 34 years. Others players named Sportsman after World Series-winning performances include Johnny Podres (1955), Sandy Koufax ('65), Tom Seaver ('69), Pete Rose ('75), Willie Stargell -- along with Terry Bradshaw ('79) -- Orel Hershiser ('88), Schilling and Johnson (2001) and the Boston Red Sox ('04).
Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps took the honors last year. Previous winners also include Muhammad Ali, Lance Armstrong, Michael Jordan, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.