On Tuesday, ESPN Films announced a six-part documentary series on iconic New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, titled "The Captain," would be released in 2022. The multi-part documentary is executive produced by Spike Lee, Mandalay Sports Media and Excel Media with Randy Wilkins directing. Wilkins is a three-time Emmy Award winner and from the Bronx. Lee is a Brooklyn native and New York sports superfan and film director, producer, screenwriter and actor.
According to the release from ESPN Films, "The Captain" will follow Jeter's arrival with the Yankees when he won Rookie of the Year in 1996 and his path to helping build the Yankees dynasty. Here's more from ESPN:
As Jeter forged a Hall of Fame career, he established himself as the model Yankee both on- and off-the field, with his style, class, and charisma. Jeter's commitment to winning came with a rare combination of competitiveness and cool, traits he has taken with him into retirement as he tackles new tests as a team owner and executive with the Miami Marlins and as a father. As he prepares to enter Cooperstown this July, he is pulling back the curtain to reveal what it was really like to be "The Captain."
Emmy-winning director Randy Wilkins will tell the story of Jeter's professional and personal triumphs and challenges. The documentary series will use Jeter's journey as a vessel to tell a larger cultural story that explores race, family, community, rivalries and more. The heartbeat of the project is candid access to the man who helped restore shine to a team, a city, and a culture.
Last January, Jeter was one vote short of unanimous in his first year of eligibility for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Due to COVID-19, the Hall was forced to cancel the Induction Weekend, held in Cooperstown, New York. Now, the 2020 Hall of Fame class consisting of Jeter, Marvin Miller, Ted Simmons and Larry Walker will be enshrined in July 2021. No one was inducted in 2021 as Curt Schilling and Barry Bonds fell short of the 75-percent threshold needed for induction.
Following the success of Michael Jordan's "The Last Dance" -- which bumped up its original release date after the coronavirus pandemic halted all live sports -- Jeter will be the next sports legend to get the post-retirement docuseries treatment. Last year, our own Matt Snyder proposed the Yankees Dynasty and Jeter as a possible MLB story that could make for a compelling documentary.
"The Last Dance" was unique in the sense that ESPN was able to turn the documentary into a rare bit of monoculture because of the surrounding circumstances. "The Captain" is set draw a large audience, for sure, but it's unlikely to be quite the focal point of discussion in the sports world as "The Last Dance" was in 2020.
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Jeter, known for being private and at times guarded both in his time with the Yankees and now as owner of the Marlins, may not have seemed like the most obvious choice for the sole focus of a documentary, but Wilkins said on Twitter, "I won't get too deep into this now, but trust me, this will not be a baseball highlight package. We're going to tell a robust story that extends beyond the field." So, there's a chance that fans will be offered a more complex, compelling and full picture of Jeter beyond his baseball career.
Across parts of 20 seasons, all with the Yankees, Jeter racked up 3,465 hits; 260 home runs; 544 doubles; 358 stolen bases; five Gold Gloves; 14 All-Star nods; eight finishes in the top 10 of the AL MVP balloting; and the second-most defensive games at shortstop in MLB history (2,674). Jeter won four World Series with the Yankees -- he was MVP of the 2000 World Series -- and batted .308/.374/.465 in 158 career playoff games.