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(NEW YORK) — In a new essay for the Player’s Tribune, Hannah Jeter opens up about “The Derek I Know,” while writing about her husband and soon-to-be father of her child, a baby girl.
In a heartfelt piece, Hannah explains that she didn’t know who the baseball legend was when she first met him, and that it took a while to understand his connection to the fans of New York.
“You probably don’t believe me,” she explains. “But it’s true … I grew up in the Virgin Islands, on St. Thomas, which is only about three miles wide. Baseball wasn’t really ‘a thing.'”
She continues to write that while Google may have had its fair share of stories about the Yankees great, now 42, she got to know him on her own terms.
“Derek and I met during the off-season, and I think that was a lucky break,” she writes. “We met at the right time. To me, what matters in a relationship is being at the same place in your lives. And right from the start, I could tell that the timing of Derek’s life and mine were aligned.”
The fashion model, 26, came to terms with Jeter’s career and says in his final season as a ballplayer she canceled jobs to be with him, support him and “be present at those remaining games” of his career in an attempt to “reconcile” the love fans have for the World Series champ.
“Even during those last few months, I felt like I was still learning to identify the Derek Jeter everyone was saying goodbye to as the same Derek that I knew,” she writes. “And then, during his last game at Yankee Stadium … that’s when, for me, everything fell into place.”
This understanding of Jeter’s legacy is something that is on Hannah’s mind as she and her husband are now “pregnant with our first child … looking to the future.”
In the middle of the article, Jeter shares a picture of the baseball legend, holding pink balloons to signify the daughter they are expecting.
“He already has a name in mind — he’s set on it. (We’ll see.),” she adds. “Whatever her name is, I know she’ll run circles around him … They’re going to be born into such an extraordinary situation. They’re going to have to be some strong little people. We don’t want them to be defined by their dad’s name — for them, we want him to just be ‘Dad.’ That will be the piece of him they’ll have that the rest of the world doesn’t.”
But there is “some sadness,” she admits, that their children won’t know the sports icon firsthand at games, because he’s now retired and the Yankees will retire his jersey later this year.
“We can show them videos, and photos, and memorabilia … But I know it won’t be quite the same … You had to be there,” she writes. “We’ll let them know that they are strong and smart, and that they can do anything they put their minds to. I hope they’ll be honest like their father. I hope they’ll be stubborn like me. I hope that they know what they want and won’t settle for less.”
Though she wants her children to know all aspects of their father’s life, she closes with, “if they want to play baseball, well, we’re gonna have a little talk first.”
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