As Derek Jeter rose through the minors, baseball recognized he was going to be a good player one day. Perhaps even very good. But an all-time great? It's hard to project that of a young player who hadn't yet stepped up to the plate in a Major League game. On May 29, 1995, Jeter did just that, making his MLB debut in Seattle as the Yankees faced off against the Mariners.
It was not exactly a debut to remember. A 20-year-old Jeter was slotted into the ninth spot in the batting order and went 0-for-5 with a strikeout. But, as we sit here 25 years later, we recognize it as the beginning of something special. He only played in 14 more games in the 1995 season, and batted .250 with 7 RBI to his name. In 1996, he started the season with the big club and never looked back. Jeter's first full season saw him rake .314 from the plate with 74 RBI, more than enough to win him Rookie of the Year honors.
Jeter would go on to a Hall of Fame career in pinstripes. He was named a 14-time All-Star, received five Gold Gloves and five Silver Slugger awards, and earned a pair of Hank Aaron awards as well as a Roberto Clemente award. He became one of 28 players in MLB history to reach the 3,000-hit mark and ranks first all-time in hits among shortstops and sixth among all players to play the game. He also led the league in hits in 1999 and 2012, a remarkable gap between those achievements that speaks to Jeter's longevity.
Jeter won five World Series titles with the Yankees and firmly cemented himself as one of the greatest among many great players to wear the uniform. 25 years ago today is when it all started.