Derek Jeter was one of the all-time great New York Yankees baseball players. He played his entire 20-year career with the club. He won five World Series championships. He is the team’s all-time leader in hits, stolen bases, at-bats and games played. He was a 14-time All-Star and five-time Golden Glove winner at shortstop. He ranks sixth in Major League Baseball history in career hits.
As great a player as Jeter was, he was an even better leader. His ability to lift up other members of his team was unmatched.
Derek Jeter watches out for his teammates even while playing in the minor leagues
Even before Derek Jeter was a Yankees superstar, the shortstop from Kalamazoo, Michigan showed signs that he cared more about the team than his own statistics. While a minor-leaguer in Greensboro, North Carolina, he played alongside future Yankee Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera. One season, the pitcher was returning from elbow surgery. Jeter would keep track of the Rivera’s pitches and encourage him to preserve his arm.
Jeter supports a struggling teammate even though it’s hurting his own performance
While in the minors, Jeter made a large number of fielding errors at shortstop. One season in which he made over 50 errors, he had a teammate at first base named Nick Delvecchio. The first baseman often lost Jeter’s throws from shortstop in the poor lighting at War Memorial stadium, accounting for a number of those 50-plus errors attributed to Jeter.
Derek never complained or criticized Delvecchio. After such a mistake, Jeter would walk over after the inning and say something supportive like, “Hey, don’t worry about it.” His teammates loved playing with him in the minor leagues, and that leadership continued once Jeter made the New York Yankees. Several years into the league, Derek Jeter was named captain.
How can we lift up our teammates and others close to us like Derek Jeter?
We can all lift up others in the same way. As a student, you can offer to study with a struggling classmate or teach some difficult material. As an athlete, we can console a teammate who misses a shot or has a bad game. In the office, we can help a co-worker with some research for a presentation. We can even just pick up a snack from the vending machine if we are grabbing some food for ourselves.
This quality – doing what you can to help and support people around us – is a hallmark sign of a leader. More importantly, the friendship it builds will only make the team and organization stronger.
In this video, I discuss ways that we can all lift up others. Whether we are coaches or the athletes on a team, or we are the CEO or we just answer the phones at the company, we can all do a little bit every day to improve the work and lives of those around us.
Ready to win in every aspect of your life?
I’ve created a checklist of 12 qualities of the world’s best athletes and coaches that will help you win in your work and life. If you adopt these traits, you will succeed in every aspect of your life, every single day.
Source: The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter by Ian O’Connor
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