Derek Jeter is opening up about a very unusual secret to his success. Speaking on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Wednesday (February 1), the retired baseball legend, 48, revealed that he once broke out of a major hitting slump by wearing a golden thong during a Yankees game. “I once wore a thong in public in front of thousands of people,” Jeter said during the “True Confessionals” segment. In this game, he and fellow guest Rita Ora read two envelopes of confessions in front of them. One of them is true, and the other is a lie. “I’m gonna need something stronger than that coffee,” Jeter joked when he first opened the envelope.
After a brief debate between host Jimmy Fallon and Rita Ora, who both said it must be a lie, Jeter confirmed the statement was true. “It is the truth,” he said of the secret good luck charm. “It was not my thong…,” Jeter said with widened eyes. Fallon and Ora were in complete shock at his statement, with Rita saying, “Let me see!”
“I’m going to ultimately regret playing this game, but let me explain.” Jeter replied, revealing that his new Yankees teammate in 2002 had a gold thong “hanging from his locker.” He told Jeter: “‘Anytime you struggle, you’d wear the gold thong, you’re guaranteed to get a hit.’ And I thought the guy was crazy.”
That all changed, however, as Jeter struggled with a 0-for-32 slump at the plate. “In 2004, I went through the worst offensive stretch in my career,” Jeter told Fallon. “Every time I’d walk in, he’d point at the thong.” In desperation, the Yankees legend finally wore the golden thong, but never wore it atop his bare skin — he wore it over his shorts. The result? “First pitch, home run.”
Jeter’s teammate responsible for the golden thong blessing is none other than Jason Giambi, who said in a 2015 interview with NJ.com: “The golden thong is legendary. It’s never not gotten a hit. 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.” In 2004, Jeter won his first Golden Glove Award and helped lead the Yankees to the ALCS (American League Championship Series).
Watch Jeter play “True Confessionals” with Jimmy Fallon and Rita Ora below: