Derek Jeter and Larry Walker took the stage Wednesday afternoon for the BBWAA Hall of Fame press conference. It is, more than anything, an annual photo op to show the newly elected baseball immortals smiling in HOF-themed jerseys and hats.
For Jeter, most of the questions predictably focused on his legendary MLB playing career with the Yankees. But near the end of the main event, a reporter asked about his role as Marlins CEO, the contrast between being perennial contenders in pinstripes versus Miami’s current rebuild, and the goals that continue to motivate him.
Jeter’s response (transcribed below):
Derek Jeter on his role as Marlins CEO:— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) January 22, 2020
"I could've stayed home and retired...But I got into this because I always wanted to give back to the game at the highest level, and I wanted to build something that we could be proud of and that everybody in Miami could be proud of." pic.twitter.com/6l3Q9llPHA
“The bottom line is, when you’re competing, you’re competing to win. We’ve taken on quite a challenge down there in Miami, but we look at it as being a huge opportunity. We believe in the fanbase in Miami. We believe in the organization that we’re building. We understand it’s going to take some time. I’ve said it before: I preach patience even though I have none.
“It also takes a little time for the fanbase to develop that trust for us. I can’t go down there and tell everyone to trust me—they don’t know me. It takes a little time for that. One thing I said is I’m not going to make any promises I can’t keep. And every promise that we’ve made, we’ve kept so far.
“Look, I want to win as much as anyone. I didn’t get into this to lose. I could’ve stayed home and retired. Just ask my wife—she’d probably be a little bit happier if I was at home every day and retired. But I got into this because I always wanted to give back to the game at the highest level, and I wanted to build something that we could be proud of and everyone in Miami could be proud of.”
Some of that will sound very familiar to Marlins fans. Particularly, the lines about “patience” and “trust” have been used repeatedly in his media sessions since completing the purchase of the franchise in the fall of 2017.
Still, it speaks volumes about Jeter’s competitiveness. After 20 MLB seasons, five World Series championships, approximately $265 million in on-field earnings and plenty more in endorsements, and now, receiving the sport’s highest possible honor, he isn’t satisfied.
You can find more segments from the BBWAA presser in MLB.com’s video library.