Photographers Share Memories Of Derek Jeter

Curators’ Corner

Photographers Share Memories Of Derek Jeter


Andrea Modica’s Portrait of Derek Jeter at Yankees training camp in 1993

Derek Jeter’s baseball career has officially ended, but not before thousands of fans, coaches, opposing players and teammates past and present honored the beloved New York Yankee one last time. Lost in the myriad of tributes were that of New York Times photojournalist Barton Silverman, who covered the superstar’s entire 20-year career, and Andrea Modica, a fine art photographer who photographed a teenage Jeter during his first week in the minor leagues.

With more than 50 years of experience photographing athletes, Silverman has captured some of the biggest names in baseball history – Reggie Jackson, Thurman Munson, Dave Winfield and Mariano Rivera, to name a few. No one, Silverman says, stands out quite like Derek.

“You can have the greatest eye in the world and no one will know who you are unless you shoot something people care about,” Silverman said. “I lucked out in that I caught Jeter’s era from the very beginning and made images people remember.”

Out of all of his Jeter memories, Silverman is especially proud of this photo from July 9th, 2011, the day Jeter notched his 3,000th hit. After the game, as Jeter walked off the field, pumping his fist, a ray of sunlight suddenly burst through the clouds, majestically illuminating the future Hall of Famer in a picture-perfect moment.

“It’s my Nat Fein photo,” Silverman boasts.


Barton Silverman/New York Times

Turn the clock back to 1993 – Fine-art photographer Andrea Modica is at Yankees training camp for her project Minor League, a portrait series of teenage ballplayers struggling to break into the big leagues. When an 18-year-old lanky shortstop from Kalamazoo, Michigan sat down to be photographed, Modica immediately noticed a quality about this particular young man that set him apart from the rest of the players.

“Derek didn’t have that tension,” she says. “He was elegant.”

The baby-faced portrait of Jeter never made Modica’s final cut. The photographer waited 21 years to unveil it, just in time for Jeter’s final home game. Five World Series rings and 3,465 hits later, the 40-year-old Jeter might have developed a wrinkle or two, but the same drive, passion and confidence he displayed in the portrait never wavered. Jeter’s chapter as one of the greatest sporting legends of all time is complete.