I’m #2: Leadership Lessons from the Career of Derek Jeter

New York YankeesYesterday was Derek Jeter’s last baseball game in Yankee stadium.

It was filled with fitting emotional tributes as New York said farewell to #2, The Captain.

And almost poetically, the Yankees won the game on a walk-off RBI by Jeter himself.

I’m not a big fan of using sports analogies, but the Apostle Paul liked to use them, so here goes.

Pastors can learn from how Derek Jeter conducted himself in the glaring spotlight of two decades with the New York Yankees. Especially about leadership and humility. A rare combination anywhere, but almost unheard of in the ego-driven world of professional sports.


The Babe was more famous.

Jordan set more records.

Tyson was more dominant.

Gretzky was the great one.

Ali was the greatest.


Jeter was #2.

And he seemed to like it that way.

He put his teammates first.

He put the fans first.

He put New York first.

But mostly, he put baseball first.


During Derek Jeter’s last season in baseball, he’s received tributes in stadiums all over the country, including [gasp!] Boston.

This video is one of many that show, not how much he accomplished, but how much he’s loved and respected. By fans, by New York and by baseball.




I’m not a Yankees fan. In fact, my best-ever moment in a ballpark was when I watched my Anaheim Angels eliminate the Yankees from postseason play in Game 4 of the ALDS in 2002.

But even I have to admit that the Derek Jeter farewell tour may be the best thing happening in sports this year. Especially in light of the current travesty of scandals engulfing the NFL for behavior unbecoming.

His major league career spanned two decades, during which the credibility of baseball was damaged by the steroids scandal. But, not only was Jeter not implicated in the scandal, he is actually credited with helping baseball rise above it.

Jeter’s most lasting legacy may be how he always conducted himself with dignity and humility. No, he wasn’t perfect. He had his flaws. But he rose above them.

He played the game well – exceptionally well. But he never drew attention to himself. He never made the headlines.


Even his nickname, The Captain, was about teamwork, not individual glory.

Derek Jeter was a leader. Not because he put himself first, but precisely because he didn’t.

Leaders lead. They take people somewhere. The destination is always more important than the leader.


I want to be a that kind of leader. That kind of pastor. That kind of person.

I don’t want to be known for what I did, but for how I made others better.

For putting the church first.

For putting my family first.

For putting Jesus first.


I want to be #2, too.


So what do you think? What can we as pastors do to put Jesus first in all we do?

We want to hear from you. Yes, you!
Enter your comment right below this post and get in on the conversation.

(Jeter #2 photo from The New York Post)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *