Skip to main content

Derek Jeter Tweets Message to Red Sox Rookie Jeter Downs Before MLB Debut

Over the past three decades, Red Sox fans have grown to associate the name “Jeter” with the enemy. Now, they’ll welcome the former Yankees captain’s namesake into the fold.

Rookie shortstop Jeter Downs made his big league debut with Boston on Wednesday. Ranked among the top 100 prospects in baseball by Baseball America and MLB Pipeline, the 23-year-old’s name was inspired by Derek Jeter, and he received some words of encouragement from the Hall of Fame shortstop before Wednesday night’s game.

“Had a chance to meet Jeter Downs a few years ago (he wasn’t with the Red Sox then),” Jeter wrote. “Congratulations and good luck … unless you are playing the Yankees.”

Downs was taken with the No. 32 pick in the 2017 draft by the Reds, then traded to the Dodgers the following year as part of the blockbuster deal involving Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig and several other players. The Dodgers then shipped him to Boston in ’20 as part of the Mookie Betts trade.

Scroll to Continue

SI Recommends

Downs has struggled offensively in the minors this season, batting .180/.297/.397 with 11 home runs and 11 stolen bases in 53 games. He’s spent the majority of his professional career at shortstop with some time at second base, though is playing third base in his debut despite never seeing any action there in the minors.

Even if his debut doesn’t go well, Downs shouldn’t feel too discouraged, as he’d be in good company. Jeter went 0-for-5 in his first major league game on May 29, 1995, and he turned out alright in the end.

More MLB Coverage: