On Wednesday, Derek Jeter wore a non-Yankee jersey for the first time.
One day after his election to the Baseball Hall of Fame, Jeter put on the cream-colored jersey labeled "Hall of Fame", which was awarded to all players on the way to Cooperstown.
"This is very special," said Jeter when asked if he wanted to go out and win five World Series titles. "It doesn't get any better than this. There are no more awards and no other place to go. That's it. It's as good as it gets."
But even then, the CEO of the Marlins made it clear that his heart is still in the Bronx.
When asked what he was most proud of in his two-decade Major Leaguer career, Jeter said, "I am proud to be a Yankee. All I ever wanted to do since I can remember was shortstop for to play the New York Yankees. I had the opportunity. I had the opportunity for a long time. "
Jeter, along with fellow countryman Larry Walker from 2020, recalled his career during a press conference at the St. Regis Hotel in Midtown after being one voice behind former team-mate Mariano Rivera when the only player voted unanimously for Cooperstown.
Even without 100 percent of the vote, Jeter was excited to follow Rivera into the Hall of Fame a year later – and to learn that his badge would hang next to Rivera's when it launches in July.
"This is news for me," said Jeter, who asked the Hall of Fame representatives before answering the question whether the location was correct.
"This is great," said Jeter. "It's an honor to be in the Hall of Fame. I don't care where they take me. They can take me to the bathroom. But being next to Mo is quite a thrill."
And it is their newest connection in their long career.
"Me and Mo, I've known him since I was 18," said Jeter. "We went through quite a bit together. It was probably the biggest jug of relief in the history of the game. We wouldn't have all these championships if it weren't because it was basically automatic."
It wasn't always as Jeter recalled on Wednesday – much to Walker's astonishment – when he mentioned that after a win over the Mariners on June 11, 1995, he was sent to the minors with Rivera with Rivera.
"He had a bad game and they sent us both down," said Jeter with a laugh. “I can thank Mariano for the only time that he has been downgraded in my professional career. You laugh now, but we cried [at the time], "
Rivera made it back to the majors a few weeks later. Jeter did not return until September and became Rookie of the Year in 1996 when the Yankees won their first of four World Series titles in five years.
Almost a quarter of a century later, Cooperstown is Jeter's next stop.
"This is something that is not a dream when playing," said Jeter. "When you play, you're just trying to keep your job. First and foremost. You're trying to compete and win."
Now he's going into the next phase of his career talking about being a Hall of Famer – something he forbade his friends and family to ask because he was afraid to hex it.
"It has always been difficult to appreciate the trip along the way," said Jeter. "My parents always told me:" You have to sit back and enjoy the moment. "I was just never able to do this. I don't know if this is a character flaw or part of the reason I'm here. … Even after my career ended, I really didn't have a chance to sit back I think maybe this will start now. "