Charles and Dorothy Jeter Named Little League Parents of the Year
Charles and Dorothy Jeter, parents of New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, were named recipients of the 2000 George and Barbara Bush Little League Parents of the Year Award, it was announced today by Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball.
"The entire Jeter family was involved in Little League," said Mr. Keener. "Mr. and Mrs. Jeter volunteered countless hours to the children of their community. Obviously, that dedication had a positive effect on Derek."
At the age of 25, Derek Jeter already owns three World Series rings, is recognized as one of the finest fielding shortstops in the game, and is one of its most dangerous hitters. But even at a young age, Derek is giving back through his Turn 2 Foundation.
"We’re obviously very proud of Derek being a Major League ballplayer, but we’re also proud of him for setting up his foundation," Charles Jeter said. "This foundation means so much to him because it helps so many children."
The Turn 2 Foundation, which operates in Michigan, Florida, New York and Ohio, supports organizational activities and programs that are designed to motivate children to avoid using drugs and alcohol through healthy alternatives and to provide effective treatment options for those who already have problems with these substances.
"Young people need to keep their eye on the ball," Derek Jeter said in an interview for the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc., which named Derek the honorary chairman of Alcohol Awareness Month (April). "They need to focus on their dreams, whether it’s sports, academics, legal or any other profession. You can live your dreams, as I am, by staying away from alcohol and other drugs."
The Parents of the Year Award is named for former President Bush and his wife, Barbara, who were volunteers during their children’s early years in Texas, and continue to support Little League today.
The Jeters now live in West Orange, N.J., so they are able to see most of Derek’s home games. But Derek honed his early skills at Westwood Little League in Kalamazoo, Mich. Derek’s sister, Sharlee, a senior-to-be at Spelman College in Atlanta, played Little League Softball at Westwood Little League. Mr. Jeter coached his son in baseball and his daughter in softball. Mrs. Jeter coached Sharlee’s teams as well.
"There are so many good memories of our time in Little League," Mr. Jeter said. "Overall, I would say it was very positive experience."
But is there one event that stands out in Derek’s Little League career? A game-winning homer? A rally-killing catch?
"Nothing like that really comes to mind," Mr. Jeter said. "I think Derek had a lot of fun playing ball, but he especially loved the parade we had through town at the start of the season. He was very proud to wear his Little League uniform in that parade."
Derek went on to play football, soccer and basketball, and starred in basketball and baseball in high school.
"He was always one to be involved in many activities," Mr. Jeter said. "In Little League, he was a good player, but we never really seriously thought about a career in baseball until later. Now Derek, he always talked about playing for the Yankees someday. As far back as I can remember, he dreamed of playing for the Yankees."
And, thanks to a supportive family, Derek Jeter is living that dream, having enjoyed three parades through the skyscraper canyons of New York City as a member of the world champions.
NOTE: Please click on the above photos (one of the Jeter Family and one of Derek Jeter playing at Westwood Little League) for high-resolution, downloadable versions.