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Derek Jeter batted .334 and made a career-low eight errors in winning his fourth Gold Glove. ((Nick Laham/Associated Press) )

Derek Jeter has been selected Sports Illustrated's sportsman of the year, becoming the first member of the New York Yankees to win the award.

Jeter led the Yankees to their first World Series title since 2000 and his fifth overall while having one of the best seasons of his career. He batted .334 and made a career-low eight errors in winning his fourth Gold Glove.

"It's unbelievable. It was completely unexpected. It came out of the blue," Jeter told The Associated Press during a break in the Sports Illustrated photo shoot.

"When I heard it, what can you say? It's one of the greatest honours you can achieve in sports."

The 35-year-old Yankees captain also was the recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award for excellence on and off the field and passed Lou Gehrig's club record for hits.

The magazine made the announcement Monday. Sports Illustrated Group editor Terry McDonell said Jeter "brings a dignity and elegance to the game."

The award has been given out since 1954. Michael Phelps won it in 2008.

Sports Illustrated Group editor Terry McDonell certainly thinks he has made all other Yankees proud.

"This verifies my idea that he is on the level of Ruth and Gehrig," McDonell said. "He's the greatest shortstop in the history of the game."

 McDonell was impressed by Jeter's leadership, how he "stepped in and moulded a team" this spring with the arrival of three expensive free agents, and Alex Rodriguez's admission to using steroids from 2001-03 and then having hip surgery that kept him out until May.