Derek Jeter Quotes

Uncovering the wisdom and insights of the legendary yankee shortstop
Written by Mark Bailey
Last updated on

If you’re a sports fan, then you have likely heard of Derek Jeter. He has been one of the most successful professional baseball players of all time – winning 4 World Series and 5 Gold Gloves during his illustrious 20-year career. But it’s not just on the field that Derek Jeter stands out as an example to follow. Throughout his long playing career and beyond, Derek Jeter has also given us some wise and inspiring words that show off his dedication to succeed, along with exhibiting sheer class in everything he says and does.

So here, we will take a look at some inspiring quotes influenced by this legendary player – from insight into what it takes to become a successful leader to how cultivating relationships is key to life success.

Funny Quotes

“I’ve been asked to sign a forehead.”

“I think everyone is ticklish. You just gotta find the right spots.”

“I went to school on Senior Skip Day.”

“When it was time for parent-teacher conferences, I remember that I was always embarrassed about what my parents would hear about me!”

“The Yankees have strict rules. You can have a mustache but no other facial hair.”

“I’ve been playing baseball since I was five or six years old. I’ve been on a schedule, pretty much, since I was in eighth, ninth grade. I look forward to not doing that.”

“My office is at Yankee Stadium. Yes, dreams do come true.”

Best and Famous Quotes

“I always have tried to treat people with respect, the way I want to be treated.”      

“I love it when people doubt me. It makes me work harder to prove them wrong.”   

“There may be people who have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do—and I believe that.”                      

“If you’re going to play at all, you’re out to win. Baseball, board games, playing Jeopardy, I hate to lose.”  

“The last thing you want to do is finish playing or doing anything and wish you would have worked harder.”                                                                          

“When I was younger, I was always taught not to make excuses.”           

“It doesn’t take any talent to play hard.”   

“Your image isn’t your character. Character is what you are as a person.”     

“Obviously, you’re known for what you do. But you still want to be known as a good person. You’re a person a lot longer before and after you’re a professional athlete.”      

“Sometimes people complicate things by thinking too much about what someone might think of what they said or did.”                                                             

“I’m not perfect; no one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. I think you try to learn from those mistakes.”                          

“If you’re going to win games, you’re going to have to come up with the big hits. That’s the bottom line.”                               

“I wouldn’t call myself great. The thing that I prided myself on in my career was consistency.”                      

“When you put a lot of hard work into one goal and you achieve it, that’s a really good feeling.”   

“This is why you play—to get an opportunity to play in the playoffs.” 

“My heroes, my dreams, and my future lay in Yankee Stadium. And they can’t take that away from me.”             

“God, I hope I wear this jersey forever.”    

“You gotta have fun. Regardless of how you look at it, we’re playing a game. It’s a business, it’s our job, but I don’t think you can do well unless you’re having fun.”

“I’ve always been very cautious with what I do. You know, that started at a young age. I always had the approach or the mentality that I never wanted to embarrass my parents.”  

“You know what I want to do? Wake up one weekend and not have to go anywhere and do nothing.” 

“I think sometimes people need to get used to an idea.”  

“I get asked enough questions, I try not to ask too many questions.”  

“You can’t quantify everything a player does to win games.”  

“You don’t just accidentally show up in the World Series.”                                           

“If you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else believe in you? We can be our own best friends or our own worst enemies. I have always vowed to be my own best friend by exhibiting a positive attitude.”

“That’s how you win—pitching and defense.”

“You can’t be sensitive, because you’re going to get criticized. I don’t care who you are, you’re going to get criticized.”                             

“I wish I trusted people more. But when I meet someone, the first thing is, ‘What does this person want?’ And I put up a defense mechanism. But I’ve always been that way.”                                                          

“You have to assume that everything you do is public knowledge. Everything. Because now everyone is a reporter. Everyone is a photographer.”  

“Leadership is more about what you do, not what you say.”     

Motivational Quotes

“It’s never over. You don’t want to be in the position to be down four runs in the ninth inning, but it’s not over until the last out.”

“You’re playing a game, whether it’s Little League or Game 7 of the World Series. It’s impossible to do well unless you’re having a good time. People talk about pressure. Yeah, there’s pressure. But I just look at it as fun.”

“My dreams do not end with playing Major League Baseball.”

“I always take criticism as a challenge. It’s the way I’ve always looked at it.”

“Through time you learn from your experiences. I think I’ve learned to deal with people a little bit better over time. That, in particular, has developed a little bit.”

“The longer you wait to decide what you want to do, the more time you’re wasting. It’s up to you to want something so badly that your passion shows through in your actions. Your actions, not your words, will do the shouting for you.”

“In order to lead people, you have to get to know them.”

“Handle yourself like a professional on the field and you have one goal—and that’s to win.”

“I think there’s something wrong with me—I like to win in everything I do, regardless of what it is.”

“You tell me you want to race down the street, I’m going to try to beat you. My grandmother asks me to race down the street, I’m going to try to beat her. And I’ll probably enjoy it. Competitive to a fault, sometimes.”

“Surround yourself with good people. People who are going to be honest with you and look out for your best interests.”

“I’m not one to sit around and be satisfied about something. I can always get better.”

“Work hard, love what you do, put your best foot forward and never forget the kid in you.”

“The big difference for me is that, as I get older, I find it’s a lot easier to stay in shape than it is to get back in shape.”

“There’s responsibility, but there’s also accountability. You have to be accountable for your actions. You have to stand at your locker when things are going bad.”

Baseball and Sports Quotes

“I get nervous watching teammates. I get nervous for them. Late in the game, pressure situations, I’m nervous for them.”

“You forget about it whether it was 15-2 or 3-2. It’s still a loss. It doesn’t matter what the score was if we win tomorrow.”

“I think a lot of times people may become content with one championship or a little bit of success, but we don’t really reflect on what we’ve done in the past. We focus on the present.”

“I have the greatest job in the world. Only one person can have it. You have shortstops on other teams—I’m not knocking other teams—but there’s only one shortstop on the Yankees.”                                                                

“I attribute much of my success in New York to my ability to understand and avoid unnecessary distractions.”       

“I remember going from rookie ball to A, to double-A, then to triple-A. At every level, it seemed like the game was faster. The bigger the situation, the more the game speeds up. That’s all mental. It messes people up.”        

“The draft is a crapshoot, so I’ve been very fortunate to be drafted by the Yankees, and to have spent my whole career here.”               

“You know, what is team chemistry? My opinion is when you have enough people who care about winning and enough people who losing affects. That’s what chemistry means to me. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to win, but you’re going to have enough people on the same page. It’s almost impossible, I think, to get everyone on the same page, but it’s gotta mean something to you.”

“Why did his team have to be the Red Sox? As a passionate Yankees fan, he always rooted against the real Red Sox. And he’d never been on a team called the Yankees.”   

“Good teams make the playoffs, hot teams win the playoffs.”

“Any player that says they don’t want to go to an All-Star Game is lying to you. It’s something everyone wants to be a part of.”  

“The number one priority is playing baseball. There are so many people in New York trying to get you to do this and get you to do that, which is fine, but you have to take care of yourself.”

“I’m a New Yorker now, and believe me, there’s no comparison between the Big Apple and Kalamazoo, no similarity at all. New York City’s hectic, always in fast-forward, and Kalamazoo’s more laid-back, smaller, slower.”                         

“I always appreciated the ex-players. Being a Yankee, you get spoiled. Old-Timers Day, all these guys coming back, spring training, being around them, you get a chance to get to know them. So I always think you learn a lot by listening.”                                                                                                    

“I’ve never been an actor on Broadway, but it feels like you’re on a stage when you play at Yankee Stadium. And that’s the feeling I’ve always had.”            

“It doesn’t feel different being here. I feel like I’m on an All-Star team every day.”    

“It took him 75 steps to get from third to home. I thought we were going to have to go out there and help him. A lot of players start thinking double then maybe wind up with a triple because the outfielder slips.”                       

“The guy’s (Shane Spencer) ridiculous. No one hits home runs like that. I’m telling you, man, it’s ridiculous.” 

“No former player has owned a team in baseball.”                                                     

“Athletics keeps us healthy, gets us up and running around. It also gives you an opportunity to meet a lot of different people, which is very important.”                                                                                          

“Yankee Stadium is my favorite stadium; I’m not going to lie to you. There’s a certain feeling you get in Yankee Stadium.”

“The thing that means the most to me is being remembered as a Yankee because that’s what I’ve always wanted to be, was to be a Yankee.” 

“It took him (Jim Leyritz, who had gone 2,156 at-bats, without a triple) seventy-five steps to get from third to home. I thought we were going to have to go out there and help him. A lot of players start thinking double then maybe wind up with a triple because the outfielder slips.”

“The Yankees have twenty-five heroes.”

“You have to take the good with the bad. Some players only talk to the press when they are doing good. When you’re doing bad you shouldn’t shy away from them and when doing good, don’t run up to them.”            

“If you play well on the field, everything will take care of itself.”      

“I go into every game thinking I’m going to be the hero. I have to, or I wouldn’t enjoy it.”

“The great thing about being a Yankee is that youre always a Yankee.”

“Defense usually doesn’t make many headlines, but it goes a long way towards winning baseball games. There are a number of ways to make an impact during the course of a game, and playing solid, sound defense is one of them.”

“The only legacy I want is to be thought of as a winner.”

“Our fans don’t want to see us win the Wild Card. They want to see us win the division.”

“Winning is one of the most special moments. Every time I take the field it’s a special moment. The fans are the ones that make it special. Because that’s what we do it for.”

“I always try to take from past performances. You never try to get too high or too low. Just play every game, just treat every game like it’s the same.”

“I play in New York, man. Criticism is part of the game. You take criticism as a challenge.”

“Sportswriters are what make sports great and fun to watch.”

“I want to play every day. This year will be absolutely no different.”

“Nine games? It’s too long.”

“One of the best things about being a Yankee is that you have guys like Whitey Ford, Phil Rizzuto, Ron Guidry and Reggie Jackson wandering around the locker room offering you advice.”

“As long as I’m having fun I’m going to play.”

“A lot of teams, I think, are just happy to make the post-season. Here, you have to win.”

“Sneak out when things go good. It bothers me when people have good games and stand in front of their locker waiting for the media, then they have bad games and sneak out the back.

“I never think about my own stats, as long as I’m contributing to the team.”

“MVP, you could have picked a name out of a hat… we have a group of MVPs. You don’t rely on one guy. You have to get contributions from everyone.”

Personality, Attitude and Life Quotes

“I like to dance and sing when there’s no one around, but, if I’m out, I’m really shy about it. So it takes a lot to get me going, but I enjoy being around music.”

“You have to be confident, if you’re not confident you might as well go home.”

“I’ve always been uncomfortable, so to speak, when the focus is on me.”

“I think when things linger, that’s when they become a distraction. I don’t want any distractions.”    

“I try to stay as private as possible; I know that’s difficult, especially playing here in New York, but I will make an attempt at it.”    

“I try to sign for as many kids as possible. Kids come first, and I’ll always sign for a kid before an adult. It’s funny because I was never big into autographs as a kid. The only player who I ever wanted an autograph from was Dave Winfield.”                 

“I’ve always had an interest in business, and my interest in business has really expanded over the years.”  

“The one thing I always said to myself was that when baseball started to feel more like a job, it would be time to move forward.”

“There’s feelings there, but I think I’ve just been pretty good at trying to hide my emotions throughout the years. I try to have the same demeanor each and every day.”                                     

“For me, when I was a kid, volunteering was the last thing I was thinking about. When I see kids doing it now, it amazes me. It’s very impressive, it gives them something productive to do as opposed to getting in trouble. For them to take time out at such a young age is remarkable. I think all kids should take a little time out to volunteer.” 

“I’ve always been very aware of what I’m saying, but I’m also aware of what you’re saying. I always want to make sure that my point is clear.”          

“Don’t get me wrong; it’s not like I didn’t go out and have fun. But there’s been a lot of players that come to New York and get caught up in the lifestyle, and before you know it, they’re sent away to another team because it affects their performance.”   

“I’ve hung out and dated people I’ve never even met before.”     

“If I put my name on something, I’m going to be involved. I’m not just going to put my name on it and not pay attention.”       

“I just think that your private life is private. What I do is obviously public, I get that. I get the fact that people are interested. I’m interested in a lot of people as well. I’ve just chosen to stay as private as possible.”

“So is work ethic. You do things over and over again, and when you get in a situation you like to think it comes natural. I think there has to be a mind-set that you’re not afraid to fail. I’m not afraid to fail. I’ve done it quite a bit. The calmer you are, the more the game slows down for you, and I think part of that is controlling your emotions.”                     

“I’m a New Yorker now, and believe me, there’s no comparison between the Big Apple and Kalamazoo, no similarity at all. New York City’s hectic, always in fast-forward, and Kalamazoo’s more laid-back, smaller, slower.”

“I think, a lot of times, players get in trouble when they’re asked questions and they think they have to find a way to answer it. If you ask me a question and I say, ‘I don’t know,’ there’s really no follow-up.”

“I don’t really see myself getting a Twitter account. Nothing against it. I get it. I especially get it for businesses.”     

“My dad had been a shortstop when he was in college, and you know, when you’re a kid, you want to be just like your dad.”

“I looked up to my parents because they were very successful in what they wanted to do. I was lucky; I didn’t have to look far for role models.”

“What kind of influence did my parents have on my life? Well, they had the most influence. These are the people who are closest to me. My parents are very positive people. They’ve been supportive. They’re always there.”

“I like to hit the gym early in the morning. I feel better throughout the day when I get in a workout first thing in the morning.”  

“So many people are insanely busy nowadays, and it’s easy to say, ‘Ah, I’ll workout tomorrow.’ But you have to set aside time and stick to that schedule.”   

“My best vacation is somewhere I could hide, somewhere warm and not a lot of people around.”                    

“Walking around sometimes, I would love to just be able to watch people, see how they act. Sometimes I would love to be invisible.”                         

“I’m not a hermit, but I definitely stay in a lot more than I used to. There’s more attention now than there ever was. You walk down the street with someone and it’s a story. It becomes national news, you know what I mean? So, I still do things, but I stay home a lot more.”                                      

“I hate the treadmill. I hate it. You really don’t have to be on it that long, something like 20 or 30 minutes. It’s all about getting your heart rate up.”            

“You hear about women buying shoes? I buy DVDs. I definitely have a problem.”     

“I can have fun anywhere, as long as I’m with good people. But in the offseason, I like to go somewhere warm, a nice spot in the Caribbean.”                   

“During the off-season, I go to the movies almost every day.”                            

“I can see how people work out to feel better.”        

“Kids are our future.”                                    

“Everyone fears rejection.”                  

“Not everybody’s a baseball fan.”                                                                           

“I don’t listen to opinions.”     

“I want to have a family.”         

“I have feelings. I’m not emotionally stunted.”          

“I want to own a team one day. You know, that’s my next goal.”  

“I’d like to get a degree. Have you ever seen the movie ‘Back to School?’ I’ll go back with my kids.”

“The first thing to know about playing baseball in Michigan is, Michigan’s really cold.”

“I try to sign for as many kids as possible. Kids come first, and I’ll always sign for a kid before an adult. It’s funny, because I was never big into autographs as a kid. The only player who I ever wanted an autograph from was Dave Winfield.”

“My parents always felt if I worked hard enough I could make any dream come true.” “I will never brag about myself, but my family, I can go on forever.”

Which quotes struck a chord the most?

Derek Jeter has long been more than just a sports figure – he is an example of what it means to be successful both on and off the field. He has shown us all that with dedication and hard work, anyone can achieve their dreams. And with his class and wisdom, Derek Jeter has given us some amazing quotes over the years that have motivated and inspired many people.

Which quotes struck a chord with you the most? Let us know in the comments, or share this blog post with someone who you think would appreciate some wise words from one of baseball’s greats!