Last month, ESPN announced that it would be airing a “multi-part documentary series” telling the story of Derek Jeter. Coming on the heels of the acclaimed Michael Jordan documentary “The Last Dance,” as well as the Tiger Woods doc “Tiger” on HBO, it’s bound to be a thoroughly hyped project. As of now though, all we really know about it is that it will be called “The Captain” and it will air in 2022.
Naturally, this series is primarily going to cover Jeter’s time as a player with the New York Yankees. At the same time though, Jeter is becoming something of a fixture for Marlins fans. From his day-to-day management of the front office, to side projects like helping the organization to set up roots in the Dominican Republic, Jeter has been an active part owner and team president. It looks as if he’s going to be around for the long haul, and establish himself as a long-term member of the Marlins family.
That will make the doc worth watching, even for those of us who might have been nauseated by the Yankees’ glory days, when Jeter was darting around the Bronx like a pinstriped demon destined for Monument Park. And while we won’t actually see the series for a while, it got me thinking about the obvious but seldom-asked question, who actually is Derek Jeter?
He’s always been a pretty indecipherable guy away from the field, but in my own anticipation of learning more about our enigmatic leader I did some research on some of his hobbies. I thought they might be of interest to Marlins fans who, like me, have come to view Jeter as one of our own.
It’s unclear whether or not Jeter still spends any time playing basketball. But we know he’s bumped elbows with some really good players over the years, and not just through his friendship with Michael Jordan. Jeter was supposedly a very good basketball player in high school, even though he was already an off-the-charts baseball stud at the time (the guy supposedly struck out just one time in his final two high school seasons). He played against both Chris Webber and Jalen Rose—both of whom would star at the University of Michigan before going on to decorated pro careers.
When it comes to celebrities and casino card tables, we tend to hear about poker, poker, and more poker. But Jeter has instead been spotted at the blackjack tables—most notably in the Bahamas alongside his pal MJ. This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. Lots of celebrity competitors like to play cards, and according to Gala Casino it is blackjack—not poker—that is the most popular of casino games. Chances are tons of people in pro athlete circles are hitting the blackjack tables, and for whatever reason this just doesn’t generate the headlines that poker tournaments do. Whatever the case, we know Jeter enjoys putting some of those limitless career earnings to the test on the blackjack felt.
In case you haven’t noticed, the common factor among many of Jeter’s hobbies is that they’re competitive outlets. Considering this it’s not at all surprising to learn that Jeter, like so many current and former athletes alike, likes to hit the links. This is an interesting one though, because Jeter supposedly spent little to no time golfing while he was a Yankee. It’s purely a retirement hobby, though it’s one he’s said to have taken to with a passionate competitive
Moving away from the competitive hobbies, Jeter has also described himself in the past as a major movie guy. He once claimed that during the offseason he might go to several movies in a single week if there were enough interesting releases out. This is definitely a hobby a lot of us can relate to, and it’s one of the few details that humanizes Jeter a bit. For those who might be curious, For The Win posted a list of The Captain’s favorite films several years ago. The former Yankee shortstop is fond of “American History X,” “The Shawshank Redemption,” “Major League,” “The Five Heartbeats,” and “Scarface,” to name a few. Honestly, not a bad list.
Last but not least is publishing! This has basically been Jeter’s business in retirement, aside from helping to run the Marlins. He is well known for having established The Players’ Tribune as an online platform for athletes to speak in their own words. But he’s also joined with Simon & Schuster to form “Jeter Publishing” (for adult non-fiction titles) and “Jeter Children’s” (for kids’ picture books). It’s actually a pretty admirable hobby, particularly given what The Players’ Tribune has turned into.
Our Miami Marlins president is a guy no one really knows, because he’s made sure of it. We know about the baseball; we know he’s been friendly a who’s-who of celebrity figures and even American presidents who passed through the Bronx while he reigned there; and of course, we know the list of women he dated before settling down is the stuff of legend. But the details of Jeter’s life beyond these public bits have always been pretty private. I’m looking forward to learning more in next year’s doc, but in the meantime these hobbies at least tell us a bit more about who Jeter is.