Happy Jeter Week, everybody. I hope you are celebrating accordingly. Derek Jeter has enough memorable moments to fill a scrapbook as thick as a Game of Thrones novel, but given the day of the week, let’s focus on the defensive side and have a real THROWback Thursday.
Plenty was made about Jeter’s range, or lack thereof, in his playing days, but he still made plenty of unforgettable plays in the field. That includes some unbelievable throws. Let’s rank the most memorable times when Jeter’s arm came up big.
The Jump Throw
These are in no particular order, so we might as well begin with Jeter’s signature throw. He may as well have trademarked it. Jeter’s classic backhand grab-and-jump throw to first became almost routine for him. His best display of the throw was in the 1998 ALCS when Jeter showed incredible arm strength to nab Travis Fryman.
The fact that Jeter made this throw with his momentum moving towards third base - and Tino Martinez still having to reach up to field the throw - was incredible. You can see for yourself here.
Thirteen years later, he still had it:
1998 World Series
The jump throw was just the first marvelous play by Jeter in the 1998 playoffs. In game four of the World Series, he fielded a groundball up the middle by Ruben Rivera and adjusted his body in midair to make the throw to first.
With his momentum taking him in the opposite direction of his jump throw, Jeter still showed off tremendous body control while helping the Yanks cap off the greatest season in baseball history.
Jeter’s throw in 1998 wasn’t his best World Series throw. During Game One of the 2000 Subway Series, he made a beautiful relay throw home to end the top of the sixth inning. That put the Yankees in a position to come back against Armando Benitez and eventually take the series lead.
The relay throw almost didn’t happen. Todd Zeile’s drive to left field hit the very top of the outfield wall, and many assumed it was a home run. Timo Perez was among that majority, and went into a jog until David Justice scrambled and threw the ball in from deep left. Perez went into full speed, but Jeter made a perfect relay throw on the run to Jorge Posada, who applied the tag and ended the threat.
This relay against the Tigers in the 2011 ALDS wasn’t as perfect, but clutch nonetheless as it squandered another rally.
To be honest, this wasn’t one of Jeter’s best throws. It was certainly a tough play that Jeter fielded deep in the shortstop hole, but Martinez made a great pick at first to retire Cal Ripken and send the Yankees to their first World Series since 1981.
This throw makes the list for memory purposes more than the quality of the throw. Seeing Jeter’s throw get a diving Ripken to clinch the pennant is one of the finest memories of the 1996 season.
Does this count as a throw?
What are your favorite throws of Jeter’s career? Let us know in the comment section below.