• The Captain: The Journey Of Derek Jeter

    Posted by on May 30th, 2011 · Comments (39)

    I just finished reading Ian O’Connor’s The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter.  And, I loved this book. 

    What do you get with this one?  It’s more than just the story of Derek Jeter through 2010.  It’s the history of the Yankees from 1996 through 2010 as well.  And, it’s full with inside stories that you’ve probably never heard. 

    What I truly enjoyed was the pacing/timing used by O’Connor in this book – both in telling the whole story and each sub-story therein.  Too many times with biographies authors get bogged down with minutia. And, before you know it, you’re drowning in the details and getting bored. But, that does not happen with this book. O’Connor tells you what you need to know and does it in a manner that is smooth and enjoyable.

    As I was reading this book, I began to think “This is the Yankee book of the summer.” But, it’s more than that. Ian O’Connor’s The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter is a must read for Yankees fans, of all ages and level of devotion, period. And, it’s a highly recommended read for any baseball fan who wants to know the back-story of someone who was a Mount Rushmore face for the game of baseball over the last 17 years.

    Comments on The Captain: The Journey Of Derek Jeter

    1. KPOcala
      May 30th, 2011 | 10:44 pm

      Steve, any “must have” photos, i.e would Kindle do it justice? Thanks for the review.

    2. May 30th, 2011 | 10:54 pm

      @ KPOcala:

      There are about 19 in the book. The early ones are interesting – as a reminder of how young and skinny he once was, etc. But, the rest of ones that you may have seen before. The read deal with this book is the story and they way it’s been told. I don’t think it’s about the photos therein. If Kindle is your thing, that’s the way to go.

      Personally, I think the hardcopy is the way to go, for keeper’s sake. I suspect my kids will want to read this one, one day. It’s not for them now – at 7 and 9. Too much about the way the playboy Jeter could scope betties, etc. It’s all clean – not rated R, etc. It’s just that it’s not something I would expose anyone under the age of 12 to now…

    3. Raf
      May 30th, 2011 | 10:59 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      The early ones are interesting – as a reminder of how young and skinny he once was,

      Steroids? ;)

      :-P:D

    4. May 30th, 2011 | 11:04 pm

      @ Raf:
      Excellent points in the book about how Jeter’s father being a substance abuse counselor played a big role in him never getting caught up with PEDs and the other stuff.

    5. Raf
      May 30th, 2011 | 11:07 pm

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      The comment was tongue in cheek; I’ve heard people use that line of reasoning, that a player being thicker at 30 than they were at 20 is an indication that they were on the juice.

    6. KPOcala
      May 30th, 2011 | 11:17 pm

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      Much appreciated,Steve.

    7. KPOcala
      May 30th, 2011 | 11:28 pm

      @ Raf:
      Raf, the second worst thing about steroids in sports is that nobody can be presumed innocent. Next has to be the pressure on athletes to take them to compete. And for me personally, it takes a lot of fun out of the game when I try to compare today’s players against older players. And I believe, (wishing that I could prove it)that baseball players starting juicing in the late ’70′s-early 80′s, with the explosion starting in the early ’90′s. Football, for sure, in the early 70′s and track and field possibly as early as the ’50′s. Now you can see it in tennis and golf over the last 15 years.

      The biggest outrage of all, however, is that kids in junior/senior high do it to compete for girls and pro contracts. Like a horrible cancer, the issue is not always as obvious as the press is willing to talk about.

    8. Raf
      May 30th, 2011 | 11:43 pm

      @ KPOcala:
      It’s not that big a deal. The game isn’t any less enjoyable for me knowing that blacks were shut out before 1947. The game wasn’t less enjoyable to me after reading “Ball Four” and “The Wrong Stuff” (written by Bill Lee). The game wasn’t less enjoyable after the Pittsburgh Drug Trials. The game wasn’t less enjoyable after the many disputes between the union and management.

      Era’s are different, and I seriously doubt that there were players that didn’t have an advantage over others, no matter the era.

      At any rate, ahletes have been using “performance enhancers,” whether they were spitballs, weight training, greenies or whatever for years. Steroids in the game isn’t anything new, and despite the media outrage, it isn’t some new phenomenon.

      I’ve had teammates that juiced, I’ve had coaches that told of their teammates that juiced. I remember being warned against steroid use when I played in HS (1989-92).

    9. June 1st, 2011 | 10:41 am

      @ Steve Lombardi:

      Did his father being a drug abuse counselor play a role in Jeter defending Barry Bonds on David Letterman (dismissing even Game of Shadows as not having any proof), or hanging out with Roger Clemens at the sidelines of a UT football game after the Mitchell Report? Just wondering.

    10. June 1st, 2011 | 10:53 am

      @ lisaswan:

      I have friends who have substance abuse issues. Doesn’t mean I do drugs. And, it doesn’t mean, because I don’t, that I would stop supporting my friends that do.

    11. MJ Recanati
      June 1st, 2011 | 11:13 am

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Excellent points in the book about how Jeter’s father being a substance abuse counselor played a big role in him never getting caught up with PEDs and the other stuff.

      Interesting. I’m not sure I see the connection given that PED’s aren’t addictive (as far as I know) but I guess it was more a function of growing up in a house where drugs of any kind were discouraged?

      Can you give us a bit more detail on this? I’m very curious about this part of the book.

    12. June 1st, 2011 | 11:55 am

      There wasn’t a ton on this in the book. Just some mentions that Jeter, at times, when asked about PEDs, offered that growing up the son of a substance abuse counselor made him very aware about the dangers of using substances illegally and with doctor’s orders, etc.

      Makes sense. Just like the kid who grows up on a farm knows a lot about farming. Or, how the kid whose father was a pro-football player would know about the life of an NFL player, etc.

      Of course, it’s not a lock that the kid in this spot would not use. Just like how a pastor’s son could possibly grow up to be a mass murderer. In the end, it’s all on the person themselves – no matter what they were exposed to as a kid.

    13. June 1st, 2011 | 11:56 am

      @ MJ Recanati: By the way, you should read this book. Anyone who considers themselves a diehard Yankees fan should read this book.

    14. MJ Recanati
      June 1st, 2011 | 12:09 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      By the way, you should read this book. Anyone who considers themselves a diehard Yankees fan should read this book.

      I’ll be honest, I don’t think I’ll ever read it. Not only do I not care very much for books written by guys employed by ESPN/NY Post/NY Daily News but I just don’t have enough warmth for Jeter to read about him.

      I’m sure there’s good stuff in there that I’d enjoy but I’m just being honest in saying that I tend to enjoy reading biographies of my heroes or people I admire. I don’t consider Jeter a hero of mine.

    15. Raf
      June 1st, 2011 | 12:25 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      There wasn’t a ton on this in the book. Just some mentions that Jeter, at times, when asked about PEDs, offered that growing up the son of a substance abuse counselor made him very aware about the dangers of using substances illegally and with doctor’s orders, etc.

      Yep. I know people who have issues with substance abuse. They’ve served as a warning to me. I can imagine that it was or would be the same with Jeter.

      As for sports, I knew that HS/College was the highest level that I would play at, so I just had fun with it. If I were heavily recruited, maybe things would’ve turned out differently?

    16. June 1st, 2011 | 12:51 pm

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      Not sure I get the comparison. Jeter is beloved in no small part because he is perceived as clean. So what was he doing defending Barry Bonds, saying there was “no proof” he did steroids, even after Game of Shadows was published? And why was he, when everybody in Yankeeland had disowned Clemens, hanging out with the pariah in public? Jeter using his fame to publicly support/defend those two is a statement, and it’s not a good one.

    17. June 1st, 2011 | 1:00 pm

      @ lisaswan:

      As the book will tell you, over and over again, Jeter is a very loyal person – with the people that he trusts. But, screw him once and he will freeze you out like you’ve never been frozen before. I’m sure, if Clemens did something to Jeter, in the slightest way, he would have been toast. So, I’m guessing that Clemens was always good to Jeter – if Jeter was good to him, as you said.

      On Bonds? Dunno. Suspect that Jeter never read the book on him.

      Lisa – I wish you would read this book. You should read this book. But, I doubt that you will. Your love of A-Rod and hatred of Jeter will not allow you to read it, I’m guessing.

      What kind of statement is that?

    18. June 1st, 2011 | 1:01 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      I don’t consider Jeter a hero of mine.

      Reading the book may change your mind.

    19. Raf
      June 1st, 2011 | 1:05 pm

      lisaswan wrote:

      Jeter using his fame to publicly support/defend those two is a statement, and it’s not a good one.

      Maybe, maybe not, but it’s a bit refreshing to see someone grow a pair go against public opinion.

    20. June 1st, 2011 | 1:16 pm

      @ Steve Lombardi writes “Lisa – I wish you would read this book. You should read this book. But, I doubt that you will. Your love of A-Rod and hatred of Jeter will not allow you to read it, I’m guessing.

      What kind of statement is that?”

      Actually, I am reading it right now — thumbed through to the controversial parts, then started it at the beginning. Way to jump to conclusions, Steve! ;)

      And I concur that it’s a well-written book, and a well-researched one as well. But Jeter really showed a bad side of his character the way he said he had nothing to do with a book that he gave interviews to Ian O’Connor for! He also claimed that the people interviewed for the book were people who didn’t really know him, which is far from the case. With the exception of Torre, A-Rod, and Jeter’s family, O’Connor talked to pretty much everybody important who knew Derek in his life, including his best friend, Jorge Posada, and many, many other teammates. But because the book is only 90-95% positive, and not 100% positive, the Captain wants to disown “The Captain.” And people say A-Rod is thin-skinned?

    21. June 1st, 2011 | 1:18 pm

      Raf wrote:

      lisaswan wrote:
      Maybe, maybe not, but it’s a bit refreshing to see someone grow a pair go against public opinion.

      Would have preferred to see Jeter show such an attitude when it came to defending A-Rod. Him, he left to the wolves, at the very same time he was defending Bonds. Not impressive.

    22. MJ Recanati
      June 1st, 2011 | 1:41 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      I wish you would read this book. You should read this book. But, I doubt that you will. Your love of A-Rod and hatred of Jeter will not allow you to read it, I’m guessing.

      I know this was directed at Lisa and not me but, honestly, I’m not sure Lisa has ever said she hates Jeter. Maybe she does and I missed it but, if she doesn’t, I don’t think this was very fair.

      One need not be considered a Jeter-hater just because they like A-Rod (and vice-versa).

    23. MJ Recanati
      June 1st, 2011 | 1:46 pm

      Raf wrote:

      Maybe, maybe not, but it’s a bit refreshing to see someone grow a pair go against public opinion.

      No doubt. Bonds might be a lousy guy but the truth is that he’s borne more than his fair share of the blame for something that was an endemic problem in baseball and for which fans, owners, GM’s, managers, players and the media all share culpability.

      lisaswan wrote:

      Would have preferred to see Jeter show such an attitude when it came to defending A-Rod. Him, he left to the wolves, at the very same time he was defending Bonds. Not impressive.

      What I wrote to Raf notwithstanding, Lisa’s right here. It has never sat well with me how exclusive Jeter’s captaincy has been.

    24. MJ Recanati
      June 1st, 2011 | 1:49 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Reading the book may change your mind.

      I honestly don’t think so.

    25. June 1st, 2011 | 1:52 pm

      @ MJ Recanati:
      Thanks, MJ, for the defense. I don’t hate Jeter. I just can’t stand all the hype about how he’s such a great leader and best human being ever. He’s Jeter, not Jesus. And somebody who holds grudges the way he does has no business being the captain. Not to mention the double-standards with certain players.

    26. Raf
      June 1st, 2011 | 2:06 pm

      lisaswan wrote:

      Would have preferred to see Jeter show such an attitude when it came to defending A-Rod. Him, he left to the wolves, at the very same time he was defending Bonds. Not impressive.

      Jeter was on Letterman when asked about Bonds. One shot deal. Jeter has been fielding questions about Rodriguez since the Esquire interview.

      Now I freely admit that I’m not the biggest Jeter fan out there, but to compare the two cases is a bit of a reach.

      Wrong, right or indifferent, Jeter played the media game better than Bonds, Rodriguez or even Clemens. If Bonds was more of a kiss-ass, licked more boots or was not as talented, maybe the media gives him a pass. If Rodriguez re-signed with the M’s for league minumum instead of $252/10 all the while being a media darling, hey maybe the media gives him a pass. If Clemens was less of an a-hole, hey maybe the media gives him a pass.

      The media is filled with self-serving, self important parasites. But hey, I can’t knock the hustle; it’s good work if you can get it.

    27. MJ Recanati
      June 1st, 2011 | 2:11 pm

      lisaswan wrote:

      Thanks, MJ, for the defense. I don’t hate Jeter. I just can’t stand all the hype about how he’s such a great leader and best human being ever. He’s Jeter, not Jesus. And somebody who holds grudges the way he does has no business being the captain. Not to mention the double-standards with certain players.

      That is exactly how I feel.

      For the record, I don’t hate Jeter either. I just don’t feel a great deal of warmth towards him and will have very little nostalgia for his career once it comes to an end. I definitely respect his accomplishments and am glad that I can tell my grandkids that I saw the best shortstop in Yankee history with my own eyes but beyond that, he’s just another guy to me.

    28. Raf
      June 1st, 2011 | 2:12 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      . It has never sat well with me how exclusive Jeter’s captaincy has been.

      I’m fairly indifferent to it. Maybe jaded, because that’s the way life works. In theory, everyone would be treated equal, but the reality is, that people aren’t. I’ve seen it happen, I’m sure in your professional career you’ve seen it happen as well.

      This is one of the reasons I don’t get caught up in the character issue of ballplayers. Paul O’Neill acted like a two year old throwing temper tantrums, he’s a warrior. Mickey Mantle shortchanged his talent and the team by boozing and carousing; crude and rude. He was a boyhood idol. Billy Martin was a menace when drunk, he was “passionate.” So on and so forth.

      Be an ass, play the game, people will love you. Be an ass, don’t play the game, people will hate you. It’s human nature.

    29. MJ Recanati
      June 1st, 2011 | 2:17 pm

      @ Raf:
      I agree with everything you wrote because I find it to be true in all walks of life, as you pointed out.

      I guess my issue is less about treating X and Y equally and more about the responsibility I see in one’s assumption of a leadership position. If you’re chosen to lead, you have to do a better job of supressing that instinct to play favorites. Most people can’t do it which is why most people aren’t cut out to be leaders.

    30. Raf
      June 1st, 2011 | 2:24 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      I just don’t feel a great deal of warmth towards him and will have very little nostalgia for his career once it comes to an end. I definitely respect his accomplishments and am glad that I can tell my grandkids that I saw the best shortstop in Yankee history with my own eyes but beyond that, he’s just another guy to me.

      I don’t feel warmth for him either. I’m more appreciative of or for him, than anything. I can appreciate seeing his parents around the game. I can appreciate from a personality standpoint he hasn’t been THAT bad when it comes to off field antics. I don’t remember much of anything other than Steinbrenner calling him out a looooooooong time ago. I mean the list of characters that have worn pinstripes is quite long, and Jeter barely even registers on the scale; no wife beating, no drugs, no fights, no boorish behavior, etc. I can appreciate that kids look up to him. When Troy Tulowitski says that Jeter was an influence on his career, that says something.

      Yeah, of course he has his flaws, but who doesn’t?

    31. Raf
      June 1st, 2011 | 2:33 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      Most people can’t do it which is why most people aren’t cut out to be leaders.

      Agreed.

      Personally, I think being a captain in the MLB sense is more a honorary title than anything else.

    32. MJ Recanati
      June 1st, 2011 | 2:45 pm

      Raf wrote:

      Yeah, of course he has his flaws, but who doesn’t?

      Agree completely. My issue with Jeter — and it is admittedly misdirected at him — is that the narrative is that Jeter has no flaws, is the perfect teammate, the perfect leader, etc. Jeter has all sorts of flaws, as every other human being does. The good thing about his flaws is, as you said, they’re not of the wife beating/drug/drinking variety. Kids can look up to him for some of the things he stands for.

    33. MJ Recanati
      June 1st, 2011 | 2:48 pm

      Raf wrote:

      Personally, I think being a captain in the MLB sense is more a honorary title than anything else.

      It certainly may be. But since the title isn’t treated as merely honorary, I expect more. If everyone acknowledged that it was merely honorary then perhaps lacking in certain ways wouldn’t matter as much. But since the official narrative is that leadership and team chemistry matter, it is the job of the captain to play to that trope and perform his duties accordingly.

      I’d be entirely in favor of ridding ourselves of these idiotic ceremonial titles if they don’t mean anything. But until they’re gone, a captain has to follow the script.

    34. June 1st, 2011 | 3:32 pm

      @ MJ Recanati:

      Agree completely. My issue with Jeter — and it is admittedly misdirected at him — is that the narrative is that Jeter has no flaws, is the perfect teammate, the perfect leader, etc. Jeter has all sorts of flaws, as every other human being does. The good thing about his flaws is, as you said, they’re not of the wife beating/drug/drinking variety. Kids can look up to him for some of the things he stands for.

      Exactly. It’s not enough that he’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He also has to be the most flawless, selfless, wonderful person who ever put on a baseball uniform.

    35. Raf
      June 1st, 2011 | 3:50 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      is that the narrative is that Jeter has no flaws, is the perfect teammate, the perfect leader, etc.

      And like most narratives, it’s a load of hooey. Which goes back to the media that reports on players and shapes their image. I bet if Jeter was a bit more candid, a bit more condescending a bit more _______, the media wouldn’t fawn over him as much, and they’d go out of their way to tear him down like they do for Rodriguez. Having said that, Rodriguez and Bonds are two players are near bigger than the game. Jeter has never gotten the level of attention that either of these players have gotten, though we will see soon, as he approaches 3,000 hits.

      Jeter goes out of his way to avoid controversy for the most part. Aso, as I mentioned before, he’s able to play the game with the media. The media in turn, feeds the pap to the sheeple, who eat it up. And there ya go :-)

    36. Raf
      June 1st, 2011 | 3:51 pm

      lisaswan wrote:

      He also has to be the most flawless, selfless, wonderful person who ever put on a baseball uniform.

      Haters gonna hate.

    37. MJ Recanati
      June 1st, 2011 | 4:05 pm

      Raf wrote:

      And like most narratives, it’s a load of hooey. Which goes back to the media that reports on players and shapes their image.

      Yep.

    38. June 1st, 2011 | 4:48 pm

      All I can say is: Read the book before you judge it, and Jeter. Then comment on it.

      Lisa – I look forward to your review!

    39. 77yankees
      June 1st, 2011 | 8:30 pm

      I don’t think anything in a book written about Jeter (or A-Rod) would sway my opinion good or bad.

      I like to think people should be able to form their own opinions and not have the media make up their minds for them.

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      In Marty Appel’s book about Thurman Munson, wasn’t there a story about Munson shooting a gun at fans outside the Stadium parking lot who he thought broke his windshield? Point is, reading that didn’t change my opinion whether it was true or not.

    Leave a reply

    You must be logged in to post a comment.