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‘Yankees Sign Jeter’: MLB Fans Had So Many Jokes After Team Inks Legend’s Namesake

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The Yankees signed Jeter on Tuesday.

Well, minor league infielder Jeter Downs, that is.

New York announced the roster move in a social media post Tuesday. The post took on a life of its own as MLB fans connected the dots to Hall of Fame shortstop Derek Jeter, the five-time World Series champion whose No. 2 jersey is retired at Yankee Stadium.

Downs was, indeed, named after Jeter.

“When he came into the major leagues [in 1995], he was the name. He was the thing. He was shining,” Downs told MLB.com in 2017. “It was ‘Jeter this, Jeter that.’ It was actually my mom’s idea. My brother got Jerry from my dad [Jerry Sr.]. It was my mom’s turn to pick a name since I was a second child. 

“She just fell in love with Jeter and the way he played, his humbleness, how he carried himself on and off the field.”

Downs has spent time in the RedsDodgersRed Sox and Nationals organizations since being selected by Cincinnati with the No. 32 pick in the 2017 MLB draft. He was one of three players sent to Boston in the blockbuster trade headlined by Mookie Betts in 2020.

Downs is batting .238/.337/.418 with 76 homers in 529 games across six minor league seasons. He has spent most of the last two campaigns in Triple-A and made his MLB debut in 2022 with Boston.

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