2004-2006: Hitting His Stride
Approaching his 10th year with the Yankees, young Jeter had been surprisingly mature and poised. He had developed a world-famous reputation as a playboy, but he was doing everything right. He was never caught cheating and everything always seemed to end positively. There wasn’t a blemish on his record. But as always, things change. Seemingly content and monogamous with Minnillo, Jeter was suddenly linked to Jessica Alba in 2004. While they were never an official item, the tabloid rags believed it was on. Good for him, too, because there probably wasn’t a hotter girl on the planet at that time.
But it didn’t last long for Jeter and Alba, and the rumor mill spun him back around to Minnillo again. I could think of worse backup plans. In 2002, though, an aspiring model from New Jersey had been discovered by FHM and she quickly became a staple in rap and hip hop music videos for her… ample posterior. Vida Guerra was almost an overnight sensation for her portfolio of butt shots. In 2004, Jeter took notice, and the rumor mongers also took notice of the new couple. As was becoming a theme, the pair hardly lasted, if they were even a pair at all, and Jeter was once again linked to another hot, up-and-coming actress, Scarlet Johansson. Also that year, Jeter hit the second most home runs of his career. I’d argue he was already hitting the most.
Minnillo and Jeter gave it one more go in 2005, but the writing had been on the wall. They moved on, as she dated and eventually married Nick Lachey. Yikes. Jeter, on the other hand, closed out 2006 linked to model and actress Gabrielle Union. Unstoppable.
2006-2007: Jeter the God
In 2006, there was a fiery debate of Internet geeks about the status of Hottest Woman in the World. While there were probably a good dozen or so actresses and models headlining the argument, there are two that stand out above all else – Alba and Jessica Biel. Jeter already had the first, now he had the other. Biel and Jeter seemed like the complete couple, enough that you could call this relationship his peak. Or at least that’s what we would have thought at that time. Accordingly, Jeter hit .343 in 2006, and he had his second-highest single-season totals in hits, RBI and stolen bases. The peak had been reached and life was good.