1995-1997: A New Hope
Jeter’s start was rocky, as an injury delayed his magnificent debut in 1995 and he didn’t look too hot when his May call-up eventually arrived. But 1995 was a wash and 1996 was the real coming out party that started with a Jeter home run in the first game. What began as his successful Rookie of the Year campaign, ended with the first Yankees World Series win in 18 years. Suddenly, Jeter was the name on every New Yorker’s mind, and his personal life mirrored that first game home run.
Arguably Jeter’s first tabloid moment came when he was spotted courtside at a New York Knicks game with actress and model Tyra Banks and singer Brandy. Rumors began swirling that Jeter and Banks were an item, which is a tremendous feat for him because this was when Banks was at her celebrity peak (think Fresh Prince of Bel Air in 1993 and Higher Learning in 1995) compared to now:
And you know that for good measure he probably dated Brandy, too. But those details are a little foggy because of his real arrival.
1998: The Beginning of the Jeter Dynasty
By 1998, Jeter was a full-fledged star in New York and with that came an even bigger impact statement than restoring victory to the Bronx. He was dating Mariah Carey. She divorced
her grandfather Tommy Mottola and was suddenly a fixture at Yankees games to cheer on her new man, as well as A-list parties in New York City with Jeter by her side. This relationship was bigger than the World Series the Yankees would win later that year.
While they only lasted a year, this was a testament to the vision that Jeter possessed for himself. He was going to occupy the spotlight, embrace the celebrity, and he was going to make a nation of men want to be him, because every woman wanted to be with him. It probably didn’t even matter how he performed on the field at that point. He had Mariah Carey in her prime, unlike Nick Cannon who is up all night changing diapers in between America’s Got Talent hosting duties, before coming home to Mariah Carey… in her 40s.