Thursday, January 08, 2015

Book Review - The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter

The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter by Ian O'Connor
Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (April 3, 2012)

The Captain is the definitive biography of future Hall of Fame member Derek Jeter.

This book is not an authorized biography in the sense that O'Connor sat down for hours at a time with the shortstop.  Instead, as one who covered the Yankees, O'Connor drew upon his prior interviews with Derek.  It's because of O'Connor's covering of the Yankees that he was able to draw on that unique access to The Captain.

With over 200 interviews, O'Connor is able to tell us how the biracial baseball player from Michigan started on his journey to become the shortstop of the New York Yankees.  The interesting thing?  Jeter was always telling people how he would be the future Yankees shortstop.  A funny thing happened on the way to the Bronx...

We go behind the scenes to when Jeter was struggling in the minors.  Despite being homesick and making an abundance of errors in the playing field, Jeter willed his way.  He had coaches and managers who served as mentors while he played in the minors.

It wouldn't be a Jeter book without discussing the whole rivalry with Alex Rodriguez.  Jeter has a one strike and you're out policy...of which Rodriguez broke the cardinal rule by talking bad about Jeter.

It may have looked easy for Jeter but it never was.  He worked hard to become the player he became.  He struggled along the way.

The paperback version of the book includes a new chapter on the chase for his 3,000th career hit--the first Yankees player ever to accomplish the milestone with the Yankees.  True, there have been other members of the 3,000 hit club that played for the Yankees like Wade Boggs and Dave Winfield but they didn't join the exclusive club with the Yankees.

When people talk about the definitive biography of Derek Jeter, they will be talking about Ian O'Connor's book for years to come.  It's an incisive, exhilarating, and revealing look at one of the best players in the game.

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