Jeter Downs answers for his first name

Nick Friar
February 12, 2020 - 10:14 am
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Believe it or not, Jeter Downs’ father is a Red Sox fan. Yet the middle infielder Boston acquired in the trade that sent Mookie Betts and David Price to the Dodgers is named after one of the greatest Yankees of all time, Derek Jeter.

“I guess my mom — she knew what she was doing when she named me Jeter,” Downs said before workouts on Wednesday.

Downs’ mother got dibs on naming rights after his older brother, who is also a player in the Red Sox organization, was named after his father, Jerry.

“She just loved Jeter and how he was and the way he played the game, so she gave me the name,” the 21-year-old said.

Of course, Downs then grew up a fan of the latest shortstop to be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. With that being the case, his favorite team naturally became the Yankees.

“I idolize him,” Downs said of Jeter. “The way he played, the way he went about the game and the things and stuff like that. How he was respected by every single team. It’s just pretty cool as a kid. I don’t care what team you’re from, it’s just cool to watch a guy like that play the game.”

Downs has been able to FaceTime his idol once, but they have yet to formally meet one another in person. Though they did have one random, brief exchange while they were both on the road.

“Last week, me and my brother were driving to go train and we were in traffic. So, he sees this range rover pulling up and was like, ‘Oh my God, is that Jeter?’” Downs said. “Then (my brother) honks and I wave at him. So, I was going to train with Raul Ibanez. So I called Raul and was like, ‘Tell Jeter that the kid waving at him was Jeter.’”

Since Downs is such a big Jeter fan, being traded to the Red Sox has him thinking about the uniqueness of the situation, like everyone else who has asked him about it. But he knows there’s more to the trade that delivered him to the Red Sox — because of the talent that was included on the other end of the deal.

“It’s cool to be traded for, arguably, a top-five player in the game,” Downs said. “But, doesn’t mean anything if I don’t go out and do my job.

“I’m going to do everything in my power to win if the Yankees are on the other side or whoever it is.”