…and is the first Yankee ever to be honored as the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year!

We all knew it was coming.  With the information leaked out on Saturday, Yankee fans had to wait for Monday for the confirmation, but it is official now with the magazine announcing that Jeets is the Man o’ the Year.

“It’s unbelievable. It was completely unexpected. It came out of the blue,” Jeter told the AP during a break in the photo shoot. “When I heard it, what can you say? It’s one of the greatest honors you can achieve in sports.”

Jeter had one of the best years of his career in 2009, leading the Yankees to their 27th World Series Championship and earned his fifth World Series ring.  Here are some other of the Captain’s accomplishments in 2009:

  • Hit .334, with 18 HR’s, 66 RBI and 30 steals.  He finished third in the AL MVP voting and earned the AL’s Silver Slugger Award for hitting as a shortstop.
  • Had a career-low 8 errors at shortstop and was the best statistical shortstop in MLB.  He was honored with the AL’s Gold Glove @ shortstop by his fellow players and managers.
  • Became the All-time Yankee leader in hits, by passing the Iron Horse, Lou Gehrig, in September.
  • Led all American League Players in All-Star Votes for the 2009 game in St. Louis.
  • Scored his 1,500 run, passed Mickey Mantle for all-time at bats as a Yankee (with over 8,103), and passed Bernie Williams and Babe Ruth with over 2,085 games played as a Yankee.
  • Earned $100,000 for his charity the Turn 2 Foundation, by out-hitting the Mets’ David Wright in a hitting challenge.  Delta Airlines made a $100,000 donation to Jeter’s charity and $50,000 to the charity of Wright’s choice.
  • Was honored as the Roberto Clemente Award for excellence on and off the field
  • Won the Hank Aaron Award as the American League’s top hitter

Last year’s winner was Michael Phelps, who had a record performance at the Beijing Olympics.  The last winner from baseball was the 2004 Boston Red Sox, who were honored as a group for breaking the 86 year streak of no championships in Boston.

Congrats to Jeets!  He is truly the most deserving sportsman in 2009!