Originally created 07/12/00

Replacement starter Jeter captures MVP



ATLANTA -- Another New York Yankee celebrated at Turner Field on Tuesday night, a stadium where the World Champions seem to be their most comfortable.

While hometown hero Andres Galarraga earned the loudest ovations, Chipper Jones had the game's only home run and Tom Glavine overcame his All-Star game curse by retiring the side in the fifth inning, it was Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter who walked away from the 71st All-Star game as its most valuable player.

On a night that honored baseball's best, Jeter moved to the game's top with his 3-for-3 performance.

Jeter doubled off Randy Johnson in the first, swinging at the first pitch. He singled off Kevin Brown in the third and eventually scored the game's first run when Brown walked Jason Giambi with the bases loaded.

And it was Jeter's two-run, go-ahead single to left-center of Mets rival Al Leiter in the fourth that gave his American League mates the cushion they would need to defeat the National League 6-3.

Jeter, 26, became the first New York Yankee to win the All-Star MVP award, which was first presented in 1962.

"With all the great players that have been in this organization, it is an honor to be the first," said Jeter, in his fifth season in New York. "In this type of game, you have to be in the right place at the right time to be the MVP. I've been very fortunate in my career to have accomplished so much so soon."

Jeter's first All-Star start came when his good fried, Seattle shortstop Alex Rodriguez, suffered a concussion on Friday and could not play.

In Jeter's two previous All-Star appearances, in 1998 at Coors Field and in 1999 at Fenway Park, Jeter struck out in his only two at-bats.

"I was thinking about bunting (in the first), but Randy Johnson's not the person to bunt off," said Jeter, who is hitting .322 in 71 games this season. "I was swinging early in the count. I was hacking up there."

Jeter continued his streak of superb hitting, overall and in Atlanta. He led the majors with 214 hits a year ago, and he broke his own Yankee record for home runs by a shortstop with 24 in 1999.

"The kid is such a great kid to manage," AL manager Joe Torre said. "I know he's very proud even though he doesn't show much. The harder he works, the luckier he gets. His head's screwed on right, and that's not easy for a youngster who seemingly has everything going for him.

"He seems to be far beyond his years and experience."

During last year's two World Series games in Atlanta, Jeter extended his streak of hitting safely in the postseason, scoring runs in both games. And when the Yankees won two games from the Braves in early June, it was Jeter who always seemed to be on base.

"It's a great stadium here because of the lighting," the 1996 American League rookie of the year said. "We've played some important ball games here. Our teams been successful here, maybe we all focus a little more when we get here."

Reach Rick Dorsey at (706) 823-3219.