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Yankees manager Aaron Boone on Derek Jeter: 'He was better than I thought'

Yankees third baseman Aaron Boone is greeted by

Yankees third baseman Aaron Boone is greeted by Derek Jeter after he hit a ninth-inning home run during World Series Game 3 against the Marlins at Pro Player Stadium in Miami on Oct. 21, 2003. Credit: Newsday Staff Photographer/David L. Pokress

Aaron Boone was a teammate of Derek Jeter’s for half a season in 2003. Even though the Yankees have a game on Wednesday night, Boone will keep an eye on Cooperstown earlier in the day when Jeter finally is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2020.

"It was awesome," Boone said of playing at third base next to Jeter in the second half of 2003 after he was acquired from Cincinnati at the trade deadline. "I consider myself knowledgeable about the game, a fan of the game. Coming from the National League, I played against Derek a lot in spring training. We had an interleague series against them that year in Cincinnati before I got traded here. I always looked at him as a great player.

"When I got here and got to play alongside him, what I tell people all the time: He was better than I thought. He was the most confident player I probably ever played with. I might have played with better, more talented, players, but no one played the game with the fearless confidence that Derek Jeter brought to the field every day, and certainly in the biggest moments."

Boone said the current Yankees are very aware of Jeter’s legacy.

"You can't help being a part of this organization and know the impact that Derek's had," Boone said. "For a lot of our players, they grew up as Derek Jeter is probably the face of Major League Baseball. It's somebody that I'm sure you walk through there and there's a handful of guys in that room where he was probably their favorite player."

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