Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez were linked together for the majority of their MLB careers, but that doesn’t mean they had the best friendship.
In ESPN’s The Captain documentary, Jeter opened up about his relationship with Rodriguez.
Jeter realized Alex Rodriguez was not a ‘true friend’ after the latter’s infamous interview with Esquire in 2001.
“He’s never had to lead,” Rodriguez said, via TMZ. “He doesn’t have to, he can just go and play and have fun, and hit second. I mean, you know, hitting second is totally different than hitting third or fourth in a lineup because you go into New York trying to stop Bernie [Williams] and [Paul] O’Neill and everybody. You never say, ‘Don’t let Derek beat you.’ That’s never your concern.”
Even before that, Rodriguez called in to The Dan Patrick Show in 2000, just after signing a record $252 million contract with the Texas Rangers and bragged about how Jeter would never land such a contract.
“Even a guy like Derek, it’s going to be hard for him to break that because he just doesn’t do the power numbers and defensively, he doesn’t do all those things,” said Rodriguez. “So, he might not break the 252. He might get 180. I don’t know what he’s going to get. 150? I’m not sure.”
This understandably irked Jeter.
“The Dan Patrick interview, he was talking about a comparison between me and him on the field. In my mind, he got his contract, so you’re trying to diminish what I’m doing maybe to justify why you got paid? Because I think, look, when you talk about statistics, my statistics never compared to Alex’s statistics. I’m not blind. I understand. But we won,” says Jeter.
“You can say whatever you want about me as a player. That’s fine,” Jeter continues. “But then it goes back to the trust and the loyalty. ‘This is how the guy feels? He’s not a true friend,’ is how I felt. Because I would not do that to a friend.”
In ESPN’s new documentary, Rodriguez took responsibility for his fractured friendship with Jeter.
“To allow that opening, that gap, that space to come between Derek and I, that’s on me,” Rodriguez said.
After making his MLB debut in 1995 at the age of 20, Jeter would go on to win Rookie of the Year and help lead the Yankees to a World Series championship in 1996, thus breaking an 18-year title drought and cementing his status as New York City’s Chosen One.