BOSTON — Red Sox manager John Farrell was a member of the American League All-Star Game coaching staff in 2008 — a year removed from Boston’s 2007 World Series title with Farrell serving as pitching coach.
It didn’t take long for him to realize the star power of New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.
“When he walks into a room, there’s a presence about him that you get a feel for and a sense of right away,” Farrell said Thursday, one day before Jeter arrives in Boston for the final series of his storied career. “It’s certainly not a standoff type of presence, but he makes people’s heads turn when he walks into a room.
“That’s what you felt when he walked into a clubhouse of All-Stars (in 2008). He stood out even among that group. I think that’s just the way he’s carried himself and the way he’s gone about a career of just ultimate professionalism.”
Jeter will hang up the spikes Sunday after a 20-year career with the Yankees in which he won five World Series titles, earned 14 All-Star selections and racked up more than 3,400 hits. Perhaps most importantly, however, Jeter will leave behind an unprecedented legacy centered on respect, class and passion. Even those in opposing dugouts can’t help but marvel at Jeter’s resume.
“I think anytime you see a player of that caliber — one who’s played 20 years in one uniform — he checks off so many boxes that are a rarity,” Farrell said. “And that’s the number of World Series wins or championships, the number of years in the same uniform. He’s in very select company as we know.”
There will never be another Jeter. In fact, there might never be another player like Jeter given the direction professional sports are trending. But as teams search for potential franchise cornerstones, many evaluations likely will lead back to No. 2 and the feats he accomplished under the bright lights of New York.
“I think you’re always looking for leaders on your own team to set an example, whether it’s in the clubhouse or on the field the way they play the game,” Farrell said. “From across the field of not being with him day in and day out, he exemplifies it.
“We look internally at our own guys, and you look at Dustin (Pedroia) and David (Ortiz) in some light what they mean to the Red Sox. Those types of players are invaluable and you hope you can have as many as possible. Even though they’re unique in their own way, you can never have enough players of that ilk.”
MLB is losing a legend in Jeter. But the precedent he set as a leader and a role model will go down in sports history.