Astros tip caps as Jeter's No. 2 retired

Iconic Yankees shortstop had lasting impact on Hinch, Houston players

Astros tip caps as Jeter's No. 2 retired

NEW YORK -- Twenty-five years after passing on a skinny high school shortstop from Michigan with the first pick in the 1992 MLB Draft and instead selecting Phil Nevin, the Astros will have a front-row seat to watch Derek Jeter have his No. 2 retired by the Yankees and his plaque unveiled in Monument Park between games of Sunday's doubleheader at Yankee Stadium.

Nevin, who played at Cal State Fullerton, wound up playing just 18 games for the Astros after going No. 1 overall, while Jeter -- who was drafted No. 6 overall -- forged a Hall of Fame career and anchored five World Series champions for the Yankees.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch, who is the same age (42) as Jeter and played in the same showcases when they were in high school, said his players will tip their caps to Jeter on Sunday. When Hinch was interviewing for Houston's managerial job in September 2014, he flew to New York and used an expired MLB players' pass to attend one of Jeter's final games in the Bronx and say hello to him.

"I have a lot of admiration and respect for how he went about his business," Hinch said. "I never got to play with him, so I don't know that impact. It's neat to be here. The reason I came in that September is the respect I have for an era in which he was able to play in. He might have been the most consistent presence through some hills and valleys within our game."

Hinch tours historic Monument Park

The decision to take Nevin in the Draft was one that divided the Astros' baseball operations department. The team was coming off a 97-loss season in 1991 and was eager to get a player who was closer to being Major League-ready. Jeter was a favorite of Astros scout Hal Newhouser, who was so upset the Astros passed on Jeter that he wound up quitting.

"Looking back, the ballclub and organization would have been better off had we listened to Hal Newhouser, not succumbed to the pressure to get over the hump, and had taken Jeter," former Astros general manager Bill Wood said five years ago.

Still, Jeter had a lasting impact on some present-day Astros. Shortstop Carlos Correa, whom the Astros drafted No. 1 overall 20 years after passing on Jeter, grew up admiring Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.

"I always looked up to Jeter and tried to emulate a lot of stuff he did on the field -- the jump throw and stuff like that," Correa said. "I had a lot of fun watching Jeter. He was actually my favorite player -- him and A-Rod where the two guys I looked up all the time."

Third baseman Alex Bregman, who came up as a shortstop, wears No. 2 in tribute to Jeter.

"I just liked how he came out and competed," Bregman said. "He's the same guy every day. He showed up to play. He came through in the clutch so many times."

Astros players Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann both played with Jeter during the final year of his career, and they look forward to the chance to pay one last tribute to him Sunday.

"He's a great guy, good person, great teammate, good competitor -- an icon in baseball," Beltran said. "A lot of people respect him for what he did on the field, off the field, with class and in the toughest market in the world, playing in New York every single day. He's a great human being, so I'm happy for him. I'll be saying hi from the other side, and I wish him the best."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.