New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter managed to stay out of the papers for anything having to do with his personal life or how he handled his business on the field. Sure, there were rumors about gift baskets and other things, but all of that came after the four World Series championships.
One story that swirled around the Yankees’ clubhouse in the 2000s was that of a golden thong to break slumps. Slugger Jason Giambi acknowledged it in 2008, saying he wore it underneath his uniform pants to break out of cold streaks. Giambi did not only do it with the Yankees, but for the Cleveland Indians and Colorado Rockies too when he joined those clubs.
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Giambi told the New York Daily News at the time that Jeter, Bernie Williams, Johnny Damon, Robin Ventura and Robinson Cano all had worn it and broke out of slumps.
“The Captain” came clean about wearing it on Wednesday night when he appeared on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” While participating in one of the segments, Jeter said he turned to the thong in hopes of breaking out of the “worst offensive stretch in my career.”
Jeter was 0-for-32 in 2004, and he explained he was egged on to wear the thong.
“In 2004 I went through the worst offensive stretch in my career,” Jeter said. “Every day I’d walk in and he’d point at the thong.”
On April 29, 2004, Jeter stopped the slump with a leadoff home run against Oakland Athletics starter Barry Zito. The Yankees won the game 7-5.
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Giambi recalled in an episode of “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” in 2015 that the thong worked.
“The golden thong is legendary. It’s never not gotten a hit,” he said when asked about Jeter’s links to it. “Well, it was just, you know, it was his first slump. I don’t think the guy’s ever slumped in his career. He’s unbelievable. You know, the gold thong, he had to get out of it.
“I never gave it to anybody. I would sometimes put it in their locker. I would sometimes start mentioning I’m going to give a gold thong if you don’t get out of this slump. Sometimes I would break it out because they didn’t want to wear the gold thong. And most of the time it just ended up in their locker. And anybody who’s worn it has gotten a hit.
“I just know first pitch, home run and the slump was over.”
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The legend lives on.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.