With Derek Jeter playing in his last All-Star Game on Tuesday night at Target Field and Todd Frazier playing in his first, things came full circle for the two infielders, who actually met 16 years earlier.
Back in 1998, the now-Cincinnati Reds third baseman was honored alongside his Toms River, N.J., teammates at Yankee Stadium after winning the Little League World Series. The 12-year-old Frazier, who played shortstop at the time, was lucky enough to stand next to Jeter during the National Anthem as players were matched with their counterparts. While most kids would have killed for that opportunity, No. 2 wasn’t actually Frazier’s first choice.
“I was a big Paul O’Neill fan, he was my favorite player. When I saw him, I thought that was the coolest thing, to be honest with you,” Frazier told C. Trent Rosecrans of The Cincinnati Enquirer. “Once I saw Jeter, everything changed. I watched the way he went about his business, how he prepared. I was in the dugout at 12 years old, just watching. Everyone’s watching home runs go over the fence, and I’m watching Jeter and how he goes about his business. I said, ‘I want to be that shortstop.’ ”
Fast forward a few years, and the two once again met on the diamond, but this time as opponents in the Midsummer Classic.
“He reminded me of that moment when we played them a few years back,” Jeter told reporters Monday. “I remember the Little League teams that come to the Stadium usually come and stand next to us. It means I’ve been doing it for a long time — a very long time. It’s great to see guys that you run into when they’re young. There’s been plenty of players I’ve played against that have said I had an opportunity to met them earlier in my career. I enjoy those stories.”
Frazier, who got Jeter to sign the picture of the two of them from 1998, has the image hanging in his house. Now he has one more to get autographed and hung. [tweet https://twitter.com/MeredithFrost/statuses/489218599438270464 align=’center’]