Scout would not allow Yankees to plunge Derek Jeter's path into the Hall of Fame


It wasn't long before Dick Groch saw that Derek Jeter was not your average student when he first saw him at an All Star camp in Michigan before Jeter's junior year.

"When you look at young players, there are some Chevys and sometimes you see a Lexus," said Groch, the former Yankees scout who helped the Yankees design and sign the number 6 shortstop in 1992, a Major League player , You could see that he could be a dominant player. "

And that's why Groch made his most famous statement in the decades as a Yankee boy scout in the days before this draft – when the question was whether Jeter would go to the University of Michigan instead of signing that he was playing professionally , Brewers and fairs.

"Mr. Steinbrenner didn't really appreciate high school players back then, Groch, 79, called George Steinbrenner over the phone last week." We all talked about who to design and everyone said, "You'd better be right." the worry that he would go to Michigan because his girlfriend would go there. Someone asked if I was sure we could sign him and I said, "He's not going to Michigan. The only place he goes is Cooperstown."

Now, almost 28 years later, Groch's prediction is becoming a reality, and Jeter is expected to be elected to the Hall of Fame when the results of the BBWAA vote are announced on Tuesday evening.

"There I thought it would dissolve," said Groch. "I thought that was his blanket. He was that good. I saw a lot of great players and he had everything. "

Groch's belief in Jeter was not only due to what he did in the field.

"Everyone could see the skills, but you had to know they could play in New York City," said Groch. "It's not just about athleticism. He had another special component. I mean, I think he could have been Michigan governor and he probably would have done a good job. He was humble but he played aggressively. He played the game composed "He had the ability to relate to everyone on the team. He handled the failure well. He assessed and worked through the problem."

So Groch didn't think much about Jeter's struggles during his first full season with the Minors when Jeter made 56 mistakes at Single-A Greensboro.

"They wanted to put him in midfield because of all the mistakes and I said," He's not at Yankee Stadium yet, "said Groch." I knew he would continue to work and make adjustments, and he did. Then you saw the games he made, dipped in the stands, the fliplay and the production in the playoffs. This is the player I saw. "

According to Groch, that was what separated Jeter then – and still does today.

"These pieces and moments that he made were the expectation," said Groch. "And there are things you cannot quantify. When scouting, they became their own word: Jeter-esque."

Groch is looking forward to a Jeteresque weekend in Cooperstown when Jeter is accepted in July and he follows Mariano Rivera, who was committed a year ago.

Derek Jeter
Dick Groch, the scout who discovered Derek Jeter, shakes his hand in the field.NY Post: Charles Wenzelberg

Groch hopes to be present and can still see the young player who became aware of him in Kalamazoo.

"He always had the ability to hit and he didn't cross out what is great as a young player," said Groch. “He had an atypical approach to the record, but he got in touch. He pulled the ball over the left field line and hit it in the center right. These are the two places a right-hander should hit the ball at Yankee Stadium. When he hit the ball, you could tell it was his choice. He hit the field he wanted. "

And 3,465 hits later, Jeter has the chance to join Rivera as the only player who was unanimously elected to the hall.

"Anyone reviewing players needs to find a man who can play in the big leagues and make a contribution," said Groch. "He looked like he could be an all-star and more."

He was right.