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Biofile Derek Jeter Interview

By Scoop Malinowski

My Biofile interviews with Derek Jeter, starting in 1994 when he played for Columbus and the Biofile updates which we did over the years at Yankee Stadium. This is my first interview with Derek Jeter who at the time was playing AAA with the Columbus Clippers in 1994. We did this by phone… 

Ht: 6-3 Wt: 180 

DOB: June 26, 1974 In: Pequannock, NJ 

Childhood Heroes: “Dave Winfield, Barry Larkin – shortstop, went to Michigan, always been a big fan of his.” 

Nickname: “Jete.” 

Favorite Athletes To Watch: “Jalen Rose, Joe Montana, Tyrone Wheatley, Winfield, Larkin, Jennifer Capriati.” 

Early Baseball Memory: “Playing for my dad (Charles) when he was coach. He was pretty lenient. When you’re growing up everyone wants to play for your dad. I played shortstop and second base (age 10-11).” 

First Job: “Mowing lawns in Kalamazoo, Michigan (age 15).” 

First Car: “1981 gray Datsun 310.” 

Hobbies/Leisure Activities: “Sleep, watch movies, I don’t have too many hobbies.” 

Childhood Dream: “Always wanted to be a baseball player. My dad played in college. I always wanted to play for the Yankees.” 

Favorite Movie: “Major League.” 

Favorite TV Shows: “Martin, Incredible Hulk.” 

Musical Tastes: “Mariah Carey, Christopher Williams, R&B.” 

Best Book Read: “Fab Five. It’s about some young people going to Michigan. Really interesting.” 

Favorite Meal: “Spaghetti, meatball, and a Coke.” 

Favorite Breakfast Cereal: “Frosted Flakes.” 

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: “Chocolate.” 

Greatest Sports Moment: “Being drafted. Getting the phone call at my house in Kalamazoo, right around noon. I was with my family. Felt happy. Relieved that it was over. Happy it was the Yankees, they were always my favorite team. We went out to eat after.” 

Little Known Fact: “I love to sleep. I don’t know if it’s little known. It keeps you out of trouble. I get a good 12 (hours) in every day. Sometimes all at once, sometimes I mix it up.” 

Pre-Game Feeling: “Have fun. Try not to think about it too much. I usually just watch TV or listen to music.” 

Toughest Competitor Encountered: “Mariano Rivera. Pretty confident, doesn’t back down to anyone.” 

People Most Admired: “Drug and alcohol abuse counselors. Social workers. My dad does that. Pretty tough job – trying to help out other people. Worrying about yourself is hard enough.” 

Memorable High School Achievement: “Named Player of the Year – USA Today in ’92.” 

Future Ambitions: “Play in the Major Leagues. Be the best I can. Win championships. And finish school (Michigan).”

—————-

Then we updated his Biofile several times over the years at oldYankee Stadium… 

Favorite Movies: “Seven – I’m a big Samuel L. Jackson and Morgan Freeman fan. Scarface and Gladiator. Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts movies.” 

Musical Tastes: “R&B, hip-hop, Black Rob, 50 Cent In The Club, Jay-Z, Jodeci.” 

Favorite TV Show: “SportsCenter.” 

Favorite Meal: “Chicken parmesan.” 

Greatest Sports Moment: “Winning the World Series, the very last out. I wanted to push Charlie (Hayes) who caught the last out [smiles] out of the way. A dream come true. I don’t know if I can describe it. It depends on what your dream is. My dream was always to win a World Series. So it was a dream come true. The celebration was great. I celebrated for a month [laughs].” 

Most Painful Moment: “Getting sent down in ’95. Got called up in the middle of the season for a couple of weeks. Getting sent down was the worst. I was in Columbus for most of the season till September.” 

Pre-Game Feeling: “I just go out and play to be honest with you. I don’t sit around and think too much.” 

Funny Baseball Memory: “To me it’s all funny. I have a good time in the locker room. I’m laughing the whole game. I don’t know if it’s too funny…it wasn’t too funny at the time. When I was in rookie ball, I hit .202. Terrible year, started off like 0-for-20-something with 14 strikeouts. Then I went back to my locker after one game and, do you remember those big red whiffle bats? They had it hanging from my locker, like, Maybe you should try using this. It wasn’t too funny at the time but now I look at it, it was funny.” 

Toughest Competitors Encountered: “Roger Clemens.” 

Closest Baseball Friends: “Alex Rodriguez. Gerald Williams – he was like a big brother for me. Tino. Sojo. Tim Raines – one of the best teammates I ever had.” 

Funniest Player: “Tim Raines, by far. Oh man, you’ve just got to be around him. Everything’s a joke with him. He laughs non-stop all day long. He’s great for the team.” 

Favorite Athletes To Watch: “Jordan. Barkley. Dave Winfield. Barry Larkin. Alex Rodriguez – I’m good friends with him so I like watching him. Peyton Manning. Michael Vick. Pete Sampras – he seems like he’s quiet and then he goes out and just wins. That’s what he does. Doesn’t talk too much or anything like that. Just goes about his business. Seems like he has no reason to talk about it, just go out and show them. I like that. I enjoy watching tennis. I like Serena. Tiger Woods. Larry Holmes. I was a Larry Holmes fan. Roy Jones – I’m his biggest fan. The Michael Jordan of boxing – the best.” 

Early Baseball Memory: “My mom used to pitch wiffle balls to me in our backyard before my high school games. We lived right next to the high school.” 

Major League Debut: “My first game was in Seattle (’95). I went to Seattle, my dad came, my mom couldn’t because my sister had a softball game. I never played in a dome before, I went 0-for-5.” 

Favorite Sport To Watch: “Basketball.” To Play: “Basketball.” 

Favorite Vacation Spot: “Puerto Rico.”

Derek Jeter’s last at bat at Yankee Stadium

About Mark Malinowski

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