I remember first hearing the term “rookie” when I was five years old at a Yankees game with my dad.
Derek Jeter was at bat and the late Bob Sheppard’s voice boomed over the loudspeaker. For the most part I didn’t pay much attention to what Sheppard was saying, but when I heard him say “rookie” I perked up.
“Dad, what does ‘rookie’ mean?”
“It means it’s his first year playing baseball here. He’s the new guy on the team.”
A future Hall of Famer with just days left in his career, the Yankees captain is a long way from being the new guy on the team. But to this day whenever I hear the word “rookie” I think of the 21-year-old Derek Jeter. Even though 19 years and five World Series championships later, he’s become a legend. Even though Jeter’s entire career passed during the time I grew up, went to college and got my first job, he’s still immortalized as that guy at bat the summer of ’95.
It’s a good reminder that even the best of the best were rookies, once.
Watch Jeter’s touching tribute to fans in this Gatorade ad.