ESPN’s seven-part documentary “The Captain,” detailing the life and career of Yankees legend Derek Jeter, surprised fans with the revelation that the famed shortstop’s real name has been Eric this whole time.
Jeter reportedly was too nervous to correct the first guy’s mistake, leading to two decades of “Derek” Jeter.
“George Steinbrenner phoned me after the draft and called me Derek, but before I could correct him, he started cursing about Billy Martin again,” said Jeter in the first episode of the documentary. “Honestly he could have called me Dylan or Dominic or even Patsy Sue, and Derek is pretty close, so that’s who I became for the next twenty-something years.”
Yankees VP of Personnel Debra Wiseman said the team was aware of the naming issue but found a workable solution.
“Once we figured out, we were calling him the wrong name, the choice was between simply acknowledging our mistake or destroying all evidence of his previous life as “Eric” and concocting a fake persona centered around “Derek,” said Wiseman. “Obviously we chose the latter. We’re the Yankees; we don’t make mistakes.”
When asked if they were aware they were calling their long-time team captain by the wrong name, most players avoided their eyes, muttered “no comment,” or were whisked away in an unmarked van driven by Brian Cashman.