Yesterday, Major League Baseball celebrated the career of Derek Jeter. Everybody knows the New York Yankees’ star short stop as one of the best players to ever play the game. He is a 14-time All-Star, World Series MVP, winner of the the American League Rookie of the Year award in his first season, and, with over 3,400 hits and counting, he is number 6 on the all-time hits list. Jeter is a guaranteed member of the Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible.
The public learned two more things about Jeter earlier this year. First, was that the 2014 season would be his last, because he one that he was going to retire at the end of the season. And second, that he is moving on to his next occupation as an author.
On September 23, a few weeks before his retirement from baseball becomes official, Jeter will release his first book for kids, called “The Contract.” It is a middle-grade fiction book inspired by Jeter’s childhood. Teaming up with Simon & Schuster, the Jeter Publishing line of books will include nonfiction books for adults, children’s picture books, and more fiction books for kids like The Contract. Later this year, Jeter Publishing will release a chronicle of his last season with the Yankees, told mostly through the photographs of Chris Anderson. He is also working on an adult non-fiction book. Jeter has already written two books for adults, The Life You Imagine: Life Lessons for Achieving Your Dreams and Game Day: My Life On and Off the Field.
is the first book in a planned series of books about Jeter as a boy. The book starts when Jeter daydreams in third grade class about being the shortstop for the New York Yankees and winning the World Series. It is the middle of winter in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and all young Derek Jeter can think about is baseball season. He is also constantly thinking about his baseball idols, Dave Winfield and Willie Randolph, two of the best Yankees players of the 1980s. He imagines that he is playing alongside them as a Yankee. Being only about 8 years old, Jeter has a long way to go before he can be a major leaguer, but for now he plays second base, bats second, and wears number 2 for his Little League Tigers team.
Jeter immediately faces a challenge when one of his teammates steals the shortstop position and his lucky jersey number. Wouldn’t you know, the kid happens to be the new coach’s son. If he could have his wish, Jeter would wear number 13, but the coach told Jeter it was “reserved” and gave it to his son instead. The coach tossed Jeter a random jersey with number 2 on the back. Disappointed, Jeter learned a lesson from this. Jeter quietly envied the other kid, and it didn’t help when he came up to Jeter and said, “Hey. Number two! As in second best!” Jeter doesn’t stay upset for too long, but instead learns to deal with his disappointment, respect others, and work harder to reach his goals. That determination paid off. The coach’s son was a little bit of a show off, but Jeter was a team player. In the championship game, the coach benched his son and gave Jeter the opportunity to play short stop. Without realizing it, the coach changed baseball history, because Jeter played shortstop for the rest of his life and became a future major leaguer and one of the best to ever play that position.
There is another example in the book where Jeter excels at competition. He was always good at math. When his math teacher assigned a test, another kid challenged Jeter that he would get a better score. On the first test, Jeter easily won with a 95. But on the next test he only got an 86 and the kid got a better score than him. Jeter again settled for number 2, but the competition allowed both him and his friend to raise their games and try to score the best they could in school. That’s another important lesson in the book– that competition can challenge everyone to work harder to be their best.
takes its name from a contract Jeter made this his parents to be a better team player on the field and off. Jeter makes his a contract with his parents, which includes showing good traits like “Be a Role Model,” “Do Your Schoolwork and Maintain Good Grades,” “Do Your Chores,” “Respect Others,” “Respect Yourself” and “Work Hard.” He takes these values with him growing up and throughout his life. It shows. Whether you are a Yankees fan or not, everyone respects Derek Jeter, who has become known throughout baseball as “The Captain.” He is the winner of 5 Gold Glove awards, 5 Silver Slugger awards, and has 5 World Series rings in his collection. He founded the Turn 2 Foundation
, motivates kids to turn away from drugs and alcohol and to live healthy lifestyles– a theme he writes about in The Contract
You can pre-order a copy of The Contract
or grab a copy at your local bookstore when it comes out on Tuesday, September 23. You can also read an excerpt of the book on the Simon & Schuster webpage.
I’d like to thank Simon & Schuster and Jeter Publishing for providing me an advance copy of the book.
I really enjoyed it. I think The Contract
is one of the best baseball fiction books for kids, and I am looking forward to the next book in the series. The fact that it is based on the real-life events of Derek Jeter’s childhood makes the lessons on how to be a better baseball player and student more inspiring. I highly recommend it!