CHICAGO — Derek Jeter won five World Series during a 20-year run with the New York Yankees. He piled up 3,465 hits and made the All-Star team 14 times while becoming one of baseball’s biggest stars.
Will that success continue in the front office of the Miami Marlins? Stay tuned.
Jeter is a limited partner in an ownership group led by venture capitalist Bruce Sherman that has a $1.2 billion agreement in place to buy the Marlins from Jeffrey Loria. Sherman met with the MLB ownership committee at the owners’ meetings on Wednesday, and the deal could be completed by the end of the season.
It’s a long road to the finish line, but the 43-year-old Jeter would take over Miami’s business and baseball operations if the transaction is approved. The Marlins have finished under .500 every year since 2010, something that never happened to Jeter while he was wearing pinstripes.
“I had him for 12 years and he’s smart,” former Yankees manager Joe Torre said. “He’s got a feel for things. And he never was impressed with himself, you know? He was very secure with who he was. His first year, he was 21 years old. By August or September, the veterans were looking for him to do something. He never shirks responsibility. He’s a tough kid, a great upbringing.”
Torre was on the bench for four of Jeter’s five championships, including his World Series MVP performance in 2000. While the potential position with the Marlins is a completely new challenge for the shortstop, Torre thinks he has the skills to pull it off.
“He’s pretty well put together,” said Torre, now an MLB executive. “I don’t think he’s going into this thing blind. He’s pretty observant, came up in a tough organization in the city of New York. He’s been tested pretty much as far as consistently having to be responsible.”
Asked why he thinks Jeter would be successful with the Marlins, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner responded: “Because that’s all he’s done in his career.”
“That organization has some challenges, but he’s been through a lot,” Steinbrenner continued. “As far as baseball operations, I think he’ll get the job done.”
Jeter made his major league debut in 1995. He had his No. 2 retired by the Yankees in May and a plaque was dedicated in his honor in Monument Park.
He spent his entire career in New York, and Steinbrenner admitted he is still getting used to the idea of Jeter working for another organization.
“I had a town hall with 100 season-ticket holders in the media room at Yankee Stadium a couple weeks ago,” said Steinbrenner, the son of former Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. “They asked and I said it’s going to be a surreal experience in not a totally positive way to see him in different colors. I think my dad would feel the same way.”
The Jeter-Sherman group has more than 10 entities, including NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan. At least 75 percent of the major league clubs must approve the sale, and Marlins president David Samson said they are hopeful the owners will vote the third week of September.
“Once the vote is approved, then you can close any time after that and we’d be looking toward closing a few days after an approval and look for them to take over as of the first day of the offseason,” said Samson, who could stay with the Marlins in some capacity after the deal is completed.
Jeter is not traveling to Chicago for the ownership meetings. His wife, Hannah, is expecting their first child. But Samson said he has been an integral part of the process.
“He is incredibly focused and equipped to do this,” he said. “Many people say they want to do something, but don’t have the tools to do it. He’s the type of guy who only wants something that he knows he has the tools to do, and he’s exhibited that through the negotiation of the deal. He was very involved, understanding of all the different provisions and the complexities of a transaction like this, understanding of what he wants to do in terms of operating a franchise.”