What jumps out at me isn't just Jeter's mastery of the fast ball- it's his peerless performance off the field. Mantle and the Babe were famous for their baseball exploits but those two also earned reputations as hard drinking wild men.
The Yankee shortstop's accomplishments are impressive. He owns five World Series rings, five Gold Gloves and is a 12 time All-Star. He earns more than $20 million a year. He's dating models and movie stars. He's got it all. You could hate him for it. But even diehard Yankee bashers admit it's hard not to like Jeter.
A poll by PRnewswire ranks Jeter as America's most popular sports figure. It's easy to think, "So what?", but it's also easy to lose track of all our fallen sports heros. See if you can link the name with the alleged scandal:
1) Roger Clemens a) Murder Charges*
2) Kobe Bryant b) Mr. Clean
3) Tiger Woods c) Steroids**
4) OJ Simpson d) Rape Charges***
5) Derek Jerek e) Serial Infidelity
Answers: 1-c, 2-d, 3-e, 4-a, 5-b
* Simpson was accused of murdering his wife but was acquitted.
**Clemens is accused of lying to congressional investigators about steroid use.
*** Bryant was accused of raping a hotel worker but the charges were later dropped. Bryant admitted to adultery and reached a settlement in civil court.
Jeter has maintained his reputation as Mr. Clean for years. Sure, his polished image is carefully cultivated. And it's paid off big. He's one of the most marketable sports names around and that translates into endorsements for Gatorade, Nike, Visa and many more.
Jeter is careful to say the right things but more importantly he does the right things. Jeter established a foundation to steer kids away from drugs. Above all- Jeter appears to be humble and truly grateful for his good fortune.
Want to be successful like Derek?
Don't trash talk. Take the high road. You'll look better.
Lead by example. Nobody out hustles Jeter. Bring your 'A' game.
Support your teammates. Everybody wants to be on a winning team. Be a team player so co-workers will want to help you succeed.
Avoid Scandal. Don't be the office gossip. Carry yourself with dignity. Don't do things you wouldn't want to see in the newspaper.
Don't talk down your competition. If they're so bad then why are you playing against them? And you look even worse if you lose.
I can hear you thinking, "If I had Jeter's talent I'd make sure I had a great rep.- who wouldn't?" Ask Tiger Woods. Sure, Jeter is blessed with an embarassment of athletic riches. But I'm willing to bet he'd be successful in any profession. Here's a Jeter quote from the Baseball Almanac:
"I want to be remembered as someone who had a lot of respect for the game, his teammates and opponents, and I want to be remembered as a winner. But most importantly I want to be remembered as a Yankee." - Derek Jeter
How do you want to be remembered? As one of Jeter's sponsors might say, "Just Do It."
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