New Red Sox prospect Jeter Downs explains how he got the chance to meet Derek Jeter

As part of Monday’s Mookie Betts megadeal, the Los Angeles Dodgers traded shortstop prospect Jeter Downs to Boston, a city where the name “Jeter” isn’t held very fondly. Downs got the chance to speak with the person responsible for that dynamic last week: his namesake, New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter.  

Downs told the story of his recent Jeter interactions when he met with media members at the Red Sox’s spring training facility on Wednesday.

“Me and my brother were driving to go train, and my brother — we’re in traffic — he sees this Range Rover pulling up, and he’s like, ‘Oh my God, is that Jeter?'” Downs said. “So, then, obviously, he honks and I wave at him. So, I was going to train with [Jeter’s former teammate] Raul Ibanez, and I was like, ‘Yo, tell Jeter that the kid that’s waving at him is Jeter.’ So then he told him that, and it was pretty cool, that I met him.” 

The Miami Marlins held an event at TopGolf shortly after the near-meeting on the road, and it connected the two Jeters once again. One of Downs’ friends was at the event and FaceTimed the prospect. Jeter Downs was put on camera with Derek Jeter, and they chatted for a couple of minutes. Downs noted that the two spoke about the “little nuances of baseball.”

“I idolized him my whole life, so then finally to get to meet him and talk to him a little bit, it was definitely special,” Downs said.

Downs, 21, is one of three young players the Red Sox acquired in exchange for Betts and pitcher David Price; he’s heading to Boston alongside 23-year-olds Alex Verdugo and Connor Wong. 

It’s the second time in as many seasons Downs is on the move. After signing with the Cincinnati Reds in 2017, Downs went to the Dodgers in a deal involving Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood and Homer Bailey in December 2018.

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