For many baseball fans, it sure doesn’t seem like the better part of a decade ago when Derek Jeter retired as a player.
After making his final appearance for the New York Yankees on September 28, 2014, the lifelong Yankee and five-time World Series winner later became part owner and CEO of the National League’s Miami Marlins franchise in 2017 and was then duly inducted. inducted into the 2020 Baseball Hall of Fame.
And even though he hasn’t been seen with a glove in his hand on the nightly national broadcasts — in nearly eight years now — Jeter seems to be ever-present.
Jeter has been seen in television commercials for Gatorade, Nike
He even starred in several comedy films, playing small roles in both Anger control, the 2003 films starring Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson; and the 2010s The other guys, starring Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell. Immediately after retiring from baseball, Jeter also joined NFL mega star Peyton Manning on television in February 2015 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Live.
Jeter’s business interests include more than just lucrative endorsements in and out of the US. In addition to investing and managing the Marlins, Jeter has been involved with Simon & Schuster Publishing, as well as several investment, food and technology ventures.
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And now, one might say, Jeter has entered the fashion business. Earlier in 2022, Jeter teamed up with UNTUCKit founder and serial entrepreneur Chris Riccobono to build an entirely new clothing brand called Greatness Wins. Also on board the new brand’s founding team are NHL legend Wayne Gretzky and ballet and dance icon Misty Copeland.
Upon founding UNTUCKit, Riccobono scaled the shirt and apparel brand to include 86 stores in the US, Canada and the UK, and also built UNTUCKit into one of the most successful e-commerce businesses of the past decade. Adding to Riccobono’s entrepreneurial edge and Jeter’s extensive organizational management experience, Copeland brings several years of knowledge gained from his previous experience helping to develop his own sports apparel enterprise.
Launched in June 2022, the Greatness Wins brand offers lines of high performance training and comfort apparel for men, women and children.
In late June, I was able to catch up with Greatness Wins and Jeter to ask him a few questions about the new venture, as well as how baseball translates into life in the business world.
Andy Fry: Many sports legends like Tom Brady and Lindsey Vonn entered the fashion apparel business. What was your motivation to create Greatness Wins?
Derek Jeter: A lot of my life revolves around being active, working out and challenging myself to compete. I’ve worn many different types of sportswear over the years, so I have a strong opinion on how a product should perform. When Chris Riccobono and I started discussing this concept, we focused on key areas that we felt would improve this space, including elevating the fabrics used, focusing on quality and sustainability, and refining the fit of the products available.
The experience Chris brings from running UNTUCKit for over 10 years is so valuable as we build Greatness Wins alongside Misty Copeland and Wayne Gretzky. The four of us coming together also highlights something that is important to all of us – there is no one definition of an “athlete” and there is no one way to be an athlete. What unites us is competitive motivation and a shared desire to be the best we can be in everything we undertake.
AF: What lessons have you learned from baseball that are transferable to endeavors like this?
Jeter: I’ve always understood the importance of having a great team and surrounding yourself with experts, and that’s no different than the approach I take with entrepreneurial endeavors. I also understand the importance of fully committing to a goal, which I believe all successful athletes share.
AF: Obviously your name is valuable to any business partnership, but what other attributes of your personality and skill set did you bring to Greatness Wins?
Jeter: I was really looking for a true partnership when creating Greatness Wins, not just an endorsement deal. I am learning a lot during this process and I hope to bring a lot to the table as well.
I am very involved in all aspects of the brand and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I work with Chris and our design team on the vision for the line for each season, on our marketing plans, on creating our customer strategy, and on how to continue to advance our goals and continue to build. I like to do research and pay attention to details.
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AF: The Yankees have an impressive 2022. What do you miss most about your days on the field?
Jeter: I know I retired at the absolute right time for me because I don’t miss the game itself. What I miss are the friends in the dressing room and the moments of adrenaline that the big games provided.
Read Fry’s interviews with Tom Brady and Tracy McGrady.