The Pride of the Albany-Colonie Yankees
One of the greatest Yankees of all-time played for the Albany-Colonie Yankees in 1994. This isn't news for many locals, especially those that take advantage of the minor league baseball in the Capital Region. Before the ValleyCats were sending waves of Astros to the big leagues, the Albany-Colonie Yankees were supplying new recruits to the Bronx Bombers like Bernie Williams, Al Leiter, Deion Sanders, Roberto Kelly and Jim Leyritz to name just a few. However, without question, the greatest being Derek Jeter.
According to MLB.com, Mr. Jeter is the all-time career leader in hits 3,465, (not Joe DiMaggio or Lou Gehrig, Jeter) doubles 544, games played 2,747 (not Lou Gehrig????), stolen bases 358, Jeter was sneaky fast and an amazing baserunner and times on base 4,716. The offensive objective of baseball is to get on base and few did it better than Derek Jeter. The fundamentals of those skills were being developed at Heritage Park for all local residents to see.
In 20 years as a New York Yankee, Derek Jeter made 14 All-Star teams, won five Gold Gloves and five Silver Slugger Awards. Jeter was the 28th player to reach 3,000 hits and finished his career ranked sixth in MLB history in career hits and first among shortstops. No player that I ever saw play elevated his teammates like Jeter and that is why he was "The Captain" from 2003 to 2014. Team Captain on the New York Yankees is a tremendous honor and few personified the position better than Jeter.
In 2017, the New York Yankees retired the former Albany-Colonie Yankees' uniform number, 2. Today, Mr. Jeter rightfully takes his spot in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Congratulations to Derek Jeter and his family. He worked as hard as any player that I had ever heard of. Hard work pays off.
I would be remiss not to mention a late friend, Rip Rowan, former sportscaster in the area, who worked for the A-C Yankees and later with me at the Diamond Dogs. Ripper passed in 2013. He was Mr. Baseball in this area and nobody loved the game more. Rip was always extremely proud that Derek Jeter was an Albany-Colonie Yankee. I am sure he is in heaven looking down on today's ceremonies smiling.
Take advantage of getting out and seeing local sports teams. You never know who you may see when you go to a ValleyCats game. Someday you be telling your kids or grandkids that you saw a Hall of Famer play before anyone knew who they were. Don't miss it.