It’s Famous Friday!

Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter was born on June 26, 1974 in New Jersey. His mother, Dorothy, is of Caucasian and European decent, while his father, Sanderson, is African-American. Jeter’s father, who played baseball at Fisk University, assimilated Derek into the sport at a young age. Trying to instill a sense of responsibility into the young athlete, Jeter’s parents made him sign a contract every year, outlining a set of rules for his behavior. The contract made is so that Derek was to always keep a positive outlook, and could not tell his parents that he “can’t” do something. With this mentality and his love for the New York Yankees, Jeter aspired to be a professional baseball player.

In high school, Jeter ran cross country and played both basketball and baseball. Developing into a star shortstop, Jeter batted over .500 his sophomore, junior, and senior year. His success in the sport led to him being recognized as an All-State player his senior year as well as the Gatorade Player of the Year. After his high school years, Jeter had planned to attend the University of Michigan on a baseball scholarship, but instead declared for the 1992 MLB Draft.

Derek Jeter’s professional baseball career started when he was drafted 6th overall out of Kalamazoo Central High School. After a few years in the minors, Jeter made his MLB debut in 1995, where he eventually won Rookie of The Year. His career took off from there. The legendary Yankees shortstop became a 14-time all-star, a 5-time Gold Glove Award, and Silver Slugger Award winner. Additionally, the player nicknamed, “The Captain” led his Yankees to 13 American League Division Series, 6 American League Championship Series, and won 5 World Series Championships, establishing the Yankees organization as a dynasty during this time period. His wild success as a postseason player lead to his new nickname, “Mr. November”, the month in which the MLB playoffs take place.

In addition to being an MLB star, Jeter founded the Turn 2 Foundation in 1996. The organization’s purpose is to reward students that obtain high academic marks and maintain a proactive lifestyle. Jeter is also affiliated with the Entertainment Industry Foundation, Soles4Souls, and the Stand Up to Cancer organizations.

On January 21st, Jeter was elected into the Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame. Receiving 396 out of 397 ballots, Jeter was one vote shy of being unanimously elected, a title held only by baseball legend Mariano Rivera. Derek Jeter along with Larry Walker will be inducted into Cooperstown on July 26th, solidifying Jeter’s mark on the game of baseball.

Matheson Bossick

Project Race Teens Vice President




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Derek Jeter!

Derek Jeter: king of the Bi-racial Age

Derek Jeter, who drove in the winning run in his last home game Thursday, transcends his statistics. He is a winner. He did all the little things that make winning possible. And he let his baseball playing do all the talking.

We live in an age of bi-racial heroes.

It started with Tiger Woods, who took the golf world by storm and must rank as one of the top three golfers of all time (Jack Nicklaus, Tiger, Bobby Jones). Tiger called himself cablanasian (Caucasian, Black, Asian).

Barack Obama won election and reelection as president, the first person of African descent to do so. His mother was a white woman from Kansas.

And now we have Derek Jeter. Derek’s dad is African-American and his mother is of Irish and German descent.

Jeter has become the king of the Bi-racial Age.

His baseball statistics aren’t that overwhelming.  Sure, he has a .310 batting average, and he ranks 6th  when it comes to the most hits in history. But he wasn’t a huge home-run hitter nor did he drive in that many RBI’s nor did he swipe a ton of bases.

But Jeter transcends his statistics. He is a winner. He did all the little things that make winning possible. And he is class personified.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he played for the Yankees and that the Yankees always seem to produce winners.

Two players who toiled in relative obscurity –Tony Gwynn and Paul Konerko – had statistics that were far more impressive than Jeter. Gwynn was the best pure hitter of his era, and Konerko hit for more power than Jeter.

You can compare Jeter’s iconic status to former Baltimore Orioles short-stop Cal Ripken. But Ripkin’s accomplishments in the field – breaking Lou Gehrig’s endurance record, his home run and RBI totals – were every bit if not more impressive than Jeter’s.

Ripken, Gwynn and Konerko all shared one similar trait with Jeter: They exemplified the best of baseball.

Jeter’s ethnic background makes him all the more compelling to the American people.

Jeter’s parents met and then married overseas in Germany while they served in the US Army. Derek was born in 1974 in New Jersey and at the age of 4 his family moved to the Midwest, to Kalamazoo, Mich. He would spend the summers with his grandparents in Jersey, and it was there where he first fell in love with the Yankees.

It’s too bad for Detroit baseball fans that he didn’t spend his summers in Michigan, but then again, would Jeter have been the icon he is today had he been a Tiger?

We live in a biracial age, but also in a time of great racial animosity.

Tiger Woods has his fans and his detractors, but he is never far from controversy.

Barack Obama has uneasily straddled the race question, at times siding with protesters over cops, at times trying to preach to young African-American men the values that helped drive him to the presidency.

Only Derek Jeter has remained largely uncontroversial and beloved by all.

Perhaps that’s because he lets his baseball playing do all the talking. Perhaps it’s because he is a Yankee.

Babe Ruth, the Sultan of Swat, showed us that a truant raised by priests in a reform school could become the icon of his age.

Joe DiMaggio, the Yankee Clipper, a son of Italian immigrants, showed us that these teeming masses of new immigrants could make an immediate impact on our culture.

Reggie Jackson, Mr. October, was the Yankee version of Muhammad Ali, brash, cocky, and clutch.

Derek Jeter, with his understated efficiency and his cool demeanor, is the king of Biracial Age.  He gives us all hope of a brighter tomorrow.

Source: Christian Science Monitor

Famous Friday

Mo’Ne Davis
African American and Caucasian
Between August 14th and August 24th it was nearly impossible to turn on any sports channel and not hear the name “Mo’Ne Davis”. For those who did not watch the Little League World Series, Mo’Ne is a female pitcher for the Philadelphia team that represented the Mid-Atlantic. The reason Mo’Ne was so famous wasn’t just because she was a girl, for there are always a couple girls on a team each year, but because she was the first girl to pitch, and win, a LLWS game. She threw a complete game shutout against Tennessee in her first game and struck out 8 batters in the process. For the rest of the tournament people were raving about this 13 year old inner city girl who took Williamsport, PA by storm. Although information is limited online, it is easy to assume that Mo’Ne is multiracial because sites show she lives with her biological mother, who is white. In addition to being the first girl to pitch a winning game in the LLWS, she became the first Little Leaguer featured on Sports Illustrated Magazine. Mo’Ne’s team would eventually be eliminated to a Chicago team that lost in the LLWS championship. However, for a moment Mo’Ne grasped many hearts and made her Philadelphia team, America’s team, and because of this, she is the perfect person for this week’s Famous Friday.