It’s a case of the Jeter jitters!
Sneed’s report Wednesday about a Chicago cop in hot water for allegedly soliciting autographs on sports memorabilia for charity from New York Yankees ace Derek Jeter after a White Sox/Yankees game in May at U.S. Cellular Field has a new twist.
The Chicago cop is being defended by Chicago Police Chaplain Fr. Dan Brandt.
“The police officer’s intent was honorable,” Brandt tells Sneed.
“His selfless efforts were purely motivated — and most appreciated, because the beneficiaries of the two items graciously autographed by Mr. Jeter will be placed at auction benefiting the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation and the Police Chaplains Ministry, both 501(c)(3) organizations.”
At issue is a complaint filed with the Chicago Police Department by the New York Yankees organization against a 9th District police officer claiming the cop broke the rules by soliciting Jeter’s autograph on various sports items.
The authenticity of it being done for a police charity was also questioned.
Jeter, 40, the Yankees’ uber star set to retire after the 2014 season, is not only the team’s captain — but his signature will be worth a fortune after he retires.
The complaint was forwarded to the Internal Affairs Division for investigation by Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, a former New York cop and avid Yankees fan.
McCarthy told Sneed Tuesday he was precluded from talking about the incident now that it has been dispatched to IAD.
A White Sox spokesman tells Sneed the Chicago cop armed with sports memorabilia at the Cell was on duty during the game and was not a member of the White Sox security team helping shuttle Jeter to and from his team’s bus.
But he was reportedly at the Yankees bus when Jeter was leaving and asked him to sign the goods for charity.
“I am told Jeter graciously signed a hat when a New York Yankees security cop then stated, ‘One is enough. We have to get going,’” said Brandt. “I’m also told Jeter then abruptly grabbed a second item, a jersey, and signed it. That may have angered the security guy, but I don’t know. Jeter did not sign the third item — which was a baseball.”
One Sneed source who asked not to be identified claimed there may have been more items. “I don’t know about any other items,” said Brandt.
Brandt also claims the Chicago Police officer told him way in advance of the game about his plan, adding, “I’m told the police officer also has emails proving he contacted the New York Yankees organization before the game asking for help in getting Jeter to the stuff for our police charities, but never heard back.
“I even tried to get Superintendent McCarthy involved, but he was probably trying to be fair and didn’t get back to us,” Brandt said.
“I’m not surprised that he did not get a chance to respond because he has far bigger issues to deal with than autographs on jerseys. Apparently, the New York security detail doesn’t have bigger things to worry about,” Brandt said.
Gee whiz. Maybe Jeter can come forward and set the record straight.
The ball is in play.
First reported by Sneed . . .
LaHood’s new ‘hood . . .
Former U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has been named by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to head a search committee for a new Chicago aviation commissioner tasked with running both Midway and O’Hare airports.
Current city aviation chief Rosemarie Andolino told Emanuel last month she planned to step down this summer.
“We want to start this process soon to ensure we can identify the best candidate and provide a smooth transition,” said Kelley Quinn, Emanuel’s communications director.
“The future aviation commissioner will be charged with continuing to strengthen Chicago’s airports and provide them a competitive advantage that results in economic and job growth for Chicago, and continue to enhance and improve customer experience at our city’s airports.”
Sneedlings . . .
Thursday’s birthdays: Sofia Vergara, 42; Jessica Simpson, 34, and Chiwetel Ejiofor, 37.
Legendary ex-L.A. Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda was spotted having a great time downing tequila shots at La Scarola restaurant last week . . .