Joe Namath says Derek Jeter has already worked himself into “folklore or legend status.”
That was one of several compliments “Broadway Joe” paid “The Captain” during a phone interview with ESPN Enterprise Unit producer Willie Weinbaum in June.
“I remember our first meeting when he was a young player and I was doing work for ‘Nobody Beats the Wiz’ and he and a couple of other players were brought in, too,” Namath said of Jeter, who is on the verge of becoming the 28th player in baseball history to reach the 3,000-hit mark. “I was very impressed with his demeanor and the way he carried himself.
“He’s a very fine person,” Namath continued. “In this day and age, you can’t step out of line. That he was named and stays ‘captain’ says the most important point about what guys feel about him.
“He must be an awfully righteous guy to maintain his humbleness and respect for others, with his position in the spotlight. It’s hard to describe. I am amazed, I couldn’t do what he has done.”
Namath has also been impressed with the way Jeter has handled himself off the field.
“Off the field, he is a positive influence at all times, not even questioned over the years about
what kind of a guy he is,” Namath said. “He is a righteous, caring and compassionate person.
“Yes, he has pictures with beautiful ladies, but he is a righteous guy, a great citizen, more than I have words to describe,” Namath continued. “There are times people get ‘set up,’ even -- this hasn’t happened with him and he hasn’t allowed it. I lost my patience at times, he doesn’t.”
Namath called Jeter a “class act, no doubt” and says he’s been a big fan of his since they first met.
“A lot of us evaluate people the first time we meet and I felt awfully comfortable looking in his eyes and seeing he made straight, good connections with people,” Namath said.
Namath said he was “stunned” when he found out that Jeter was going to be the first Yankee to ever record 3,000 hits.