Captain's Log: Derek Jeter's career against the Houston Astros
The 2014 season will be Derek Jeter's last, the culmination of 20 years of dominance in Major League Baseball. With his pending retirement announced, Jeter will make his final visits to 18 ballparks this year, play in his final game at Yankee Stadium, and, if all goes well, his final All-Star Game and postseason as well.
Throughout the season, as Jeter makes his final stop in each opposing city, the YESNetwork.com staff will take a look back at just how well he has done at every locale - and with the Yankees' final regular-season game in Houston slated for Thursday night, we start with a look at how Jeter has matched up with the Astros over his career.
For Derek Jeter, 2014 may be the final season of a stellar 20-year Major League career, but there are still some "new experiences" to be had. For instance, by playing on Opening Day, Jeter set foot on the field at Houston's Minute Maid Park for the first time in six years, and by appearing in all three games of the Yankees' season-opening series, The Captain actually doubled his total of regular-season games played in the "Space City."
Barring an Astros/Yankees playoff matchup, Jeter says his final goodbye to southeast Texas on Thursday night as the Bombers conclude their only trip to Houston in 2014. With that, we take a look back at the mark The Captain has left on the Astros' fans, as well as a few moments worth remembering.
Derek Jeter's career line vs. Houston (11 games/48 plate appearances):
.209 average (9-for-43), 3 HR, 7 RBI, 4 BB, 10 K, 1 SB, 6 R, .710 OPS
Jeter's career line in Houston (5 games/21 plate appearances, all at Minute Maid Park):
.263 average (5-for-19), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K, 0 SB, 3 R, .754 OPS
And now, three memorable Jeter Moments in Houston:
No. 1: Coulda, woulda, shoulda
It's not really a "moment" per se, but we can't not include a mention of how Jeter could've been a Houston Astros. By now, you surely know the story of five teams passing on the Captain in the 1992 MLB Draft, with Houston taking infielder Phil Nevin with the top selection. Then-Astros scout Hal Newhouser quit in protest of the situation, but luckily, when Jeter was still available at No. 6, the Yankees listened their scout, Dick Groch - who, when asked about the potential for Jeter to not sign and instead honor his commitment to play at the University of Michigan, famously said that "the only place Jeter's going is Cooperstown." He'll see you there in 2020, Dick. One last fun fact: Jeter's career WAR entering 2014 (71.6) is nearly five times that of Nevin's, and more than double the career WAR of the collective chosen ahead of him in 1992.
No. 2: Robbed by a former teammate
The 2004 All-Star Game in Houston marked Jeter's sixth appearance and second start in the Mid-Summer Classic, and also saw Jeter start in the infield with two Yankees teammates (Jason Giambi and Alex Rodriguez) and Alfonso Soriano, who had been The Captain's keystone combo mate for the previous few years before being traded for A-Rod in the winter of 2003-04. Jeter had a great game, going 3-for-3 with three singles and a run scored, but he was unfortunately overshadowed for the MVP award by Soriano, who was 2-for-3 overall and hit a three-run homer in the first inning that set the tone for the AL's 9-4 win.
No. 3: The beginning of the end
In a fun scheduling quirk, the Yankees played their final 2013 game in Houston, and then opened the 2014 season in the very same locale. Jeter didn't play in the Yankees' finale, but it was the last time he got to share a dugout with Core Four mates Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte, who both retired this winter; this year, though, The Captain did play in the opener, and it marked the final time that all 24 teammates would spend their opening day on the same roster as Jeter. And so, this truly was the proverbial beginning of the end.