Although one year removed from the end of his illustrious baseball career, Derek Jeter was back in New York City on Monday night in yet another comfortable setting and once again amongst some familiar faces. For the nineteenth consecutive year, Jeter and his Turn2 Foundation hosted their annual fundraising dinner, which besides raising funds for the foundation also serves to honor participants in the Jeter’s Leaders program and other members of the community. Notable attendees included New York Knicks legend Walt “Clyde” Frazier, current Knicks coach Derek Fisher, Giants Hall-Of-Famer Michael Strahan who moderated the event’s panel, and Grammy award winner Wyclef Jean who performed.
“It’s something for us as a foundation and a family that we’re extremely proud of,” said Jeter. “The support we’ve gotten here in the New York community gives us the ability to help out a lot of kids — that’s something that means a lot to us.”
Jeter was also flanked by a few former pinstripe teammates, including Carlos Beltran, Tino Martinez, and long-time manager Joe Torre, who currently serves as an Executive Vice President with Major League Baseball. Torre was never short on praise for Jeter as a player, but he explained that his admiration for Jeter’s work in the community is equally great.
“This is the other side of Derek Jeter that’s probably as good as the other side of Derek Jeter,” Torre said. “He’s always been very caring, and I felt very privelaged to have a player of his character on our ball club.”
This year’s event earned more than $1.5 million for the foundation’s youth-focused initiatives – the most ever raised at this function. Besides the panel featuring Jeter, Fisher, former New Jersey Devils captain Bryce Salvador, and New York Liberty forward Swin Cash, NBC’s TODAY host Hoda Kotb played the role of event emcee and comedian JB Smoove led a live auction featuring memorabilia donated by Steiner Sports.
In typical Jeter family form, Derek was joined by his parents as well as his sister Sharlee, President of the Turn2 Foundation.
“I think I have one of the best jobs in the world, I know [Derek] always says that,” she said of her role. “It’s easy to get up every day and go to work and do something good for kids in the community.”
As close as the siblings are, Derek’s retirement has brought up a renewed set of issues for the two to debate (lovingly) over. His leadership, values and passion are stamped all of the foundation, and Sharlee wants to keep things running just as smooth as they have been for the past 19 years.
“Derek’s always been involved with the foundation and the decisions, just now he has more time to bug me about the little things,” Sharlee joked. “So we’re going to keep him on the golf course and doing all the other business stuff he has going on.”