In an age of huge salaries and even bigger egos, Derek Jeter is a first-class example of everything an athlete should be: professional, hard-working, a true leader and a team player. Most of all, however, Jeter is a champion.
The 2009 season was one of Jeter’s best. The New York Yankees shortstop hit .334 with 18 home runs and 30 stolen bases on his way to winning the fifth World Series of his career. It was also an historic year for Jeter, who broke Luis Aparicio’s record for the most hits by a shortstop in major league history. A month later, Jeter became the Yankees’ all-time hits leader, breaking Lou Gehrig’s 72-year record with 2,772 hits.
Fans love him, but Jeter has also earned the respect of teammates and opponents alike. In 1996, Jeter founded the Turn 2 Foundation, which supports programs that helps keep kids away from drugs and alcohol and promote a healthier lifestyle. In October, he received the Roberto Clemente Award, given each year to the player who combines excellence in his sport with community service. Jeter’s magical season came to head in November, when Sports Illustrated named him Sportsman of the Year for 2009. He is the first New York Yankee to be awarded the honor.
For being a champion both on and off the field, Derek Jeter is a nominee for TFK Person of the Year 2009.