He hit .334 and led the New York Yankees to their 27th World Series title this fall.
Earlier in the season, he broke Lou Gehrig's franchise record for base hits; was named an All-Star; won a Gold Glove; finished second in the league in hits, third in batting average and on-base percentage, fourth in runs and eighth in stolen bases.
For all those reasons, Sports Illustrated has named Derek Jeter its Sportsman of the Year.
It's a deserved honor for the future Hall of Famer, due to his on-field accomplishments. But there's another reason why Jeter has earned this distinction: you won't find a Rachel Uchitel or a Jaimee Grubbs in his past, present or future.
As fans around the world groan over the Tiger Woods voicemail to Grubbs - and lament the fact that others athletic icons such as Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant have also been exposed as cheaters - even the most ardent Red Sox supporter has to admire Jeter.
Here's a guy that has dated countless celebrities, all of them gorgeous, yet none of them ever having a negative word to utter about the star shortstop.
An intelligent player on the diamond, Jeter is even smarter away from the stadium. He's avoided marriage, enjoyed an honest life as a bachelor and managed to make headline solely for his baseball-related accomplishments. Not many athletes can say that anymore.
Said Jeter, upon accepting the award in NYC:
“When you think about being a good sportsman, there’s a lot of things that come to mind. People tell you it’s success on the baseball field... I also think there’s a lot of qualities that go into it - hard work, dedication, pride, humility. These are all things that I learned at a very young age.”
Oh, there's another reason why Jeter has earned our perpetual admiration: he doesn't just tap the dirt off his cleats prior to an at-bat; he taps THIS PIECE every night!