Derek Jeter: In his own words
Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was named SI Sportsman of the Year on Monday
In 2009 he set records for most hits by a Yankee and most hits by a shortstop
His father's influence was one reason why Jeter never considered using steroids
Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year Derek Jeter is the cover subject profiled by SI senior writer Tom Verducci in this week's edition of the magazine. Here are bonus highlights from Verducci's interviews with Jeter.
SI: You grew up as a big fan of Dave Winfield. Was your Turn 2 Foundation inspired by Winfield having a foundation of his own as a player?
DJ: That was part of the appeal. I was a fan of Dave. He was pretty much the first player to start a foundation. I thought it was cool that he would take the time to take care of kids. I thought it was a great idea.
SI: What do you enjoy most about the foundation?
DJ: I like hearing the responses from the families, hearing about how these kids grow up, graduate, go on to college. That's probably the most satisfying part. A lot of them will come back and help the foundation, so it's good to see them as they grow up.
SI: You received a lot of attention for breaking Lou Gehrig's record for most hits by a Yankee. With less fanfare, though, you broke Luis Aparicio's record for most hits by a shortstop. How important was that to you?
DJ: I didn't even know about that record until two days before. We were in Seattle. A reporter asked me about it. I said, 'What are you talking about?' I had no idea. No idea whatsoever. I was unaware of it. But it's hard to believe, when you think about it.
SI: What advice would you give a player new to New York about how to succeed in New York?
DJ: I'd tell them first, it's the same game, I don't care where you are playing, Minnesota, Kansas City or New York, it's the same game. There are more questions after games. I would say don't worry about what's written about you. There's going to be good, there's going to be bad.
Make sure you take time for yourself. The number one priority is playing baseball. There are so many people in New York trying to get you to do this and get you to do that, which is fine, but you have to take care of yourself.
The biggest thing is don't be sensitive. You can't be sensitive, because you're going to get criticized. I don't care who you are, you're going to get criticized.
I always take criticism as a challenge. It's the way I've always looked at it. [When] somebody criticizes you, you have to realize it's their opinion. That doesn't mean it's true. They're entitled to their opinion. You may not like it. I may not like a lot of people's opinions, but they're entitled to their own opinions. So I take it as a challenge.
SI: How do you deal with the media?
DJ: You have to be accountable, whether you have a good game or a bad game, whether you like somebody or you don't, whether you think they are fair or unfair. I understand they have a job to do, and I have a job to do. I understand that's a responsibility you have.
I think you learn how you can't generalize everybody. You learn how some people work... You're not going to trick me into saying anything, saying something stupid or just agreeing with what you're saying. There are lot of people that try to trick you that way.
SI: Curt Schilling said that he remembers the way you nodded at one other before your first at-bat in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series. Do you remember that?
DJ: I remember. It was fun. I always look at it as it's fun. Schilling was as big a big game pitcher as there was. There were others, but you can't say there was anybody bigger than him since I was playing. So Game 7 of the World Series and you're facing the best? It's fun.
You're playing a game, whether it's Little League or Game 7 of the Word Series. It's impossible to do well unless you're having a good time. People talk about pressure. Yeah, there's pressure. But I just look at it as fun.